This broadcast of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier marked both a new arrival and a return that would prove to be a farewell. Georg Solti had burst onto the international musical scene the year before with his recording of Wagner’s Das Rheingold for Decca. Der Rosenkavalier was an auspicious choice for his Covent Garden opera debut since he had worked with Richard Strauss while in Munich after the war. Critics were impressed, praising ‘a rich orchestral performance that was full of dramatic élan’ as well as his ‘fluent, transparent, refined and rhythmically strong’ conducting.
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, singing the Marschallin, was returning to Covent Garden after an absence of six years. Schwarzkopf became an international superstar based in Vienna during the 1950s and appeared in numerous recordings for EMI, including a well-received Der Rosenkavalier under Herbert von Karajan. Schwarzkopf became the greatest Marschallin of her day, combining a truly beautiful voice with the required pathos and attention to detail.
This previously unreleased live broadcast finds her with several years of experience already in the role, and preserves her wonderful ability to shape her voice to give added meaning to the text.