Die Chronik-Seiten der SEMPEROPER EDITION
Elfride Trötschel soprano – Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden
Under The Spell Of A Voice
It was a Friday afternoon similar to many others, and the evening programmes for the weekend had been prepared.
Activity was gradually slowing down at the broadcasting centre, making it a good time to sift through the sound archives looking for concert recordings and letting the week die away in sensual pleasure. That had become a fond ritual for me.
However, this Friday in 2004 also had a quite special aspect. The “Edition Staatskapelle Dresden” had just been launched.
The first five CDs presenting radio recordings of the worldfamous orchestra had been released and were being warmly welcomed on the record market worldwide. Their artistic value was beyond question. The standard had been set high. The series might thus be continued. Excellent and exciting at the same time?
Why not venture an experiment and pay tribute to the Staatskapelle as also an opera orchestra with a rich tradition?
While I was somewhat playfully exploring archive material marked “Opera”,my curiosity was aroused by the name of one of the great and commendable Dresden conductors of the post-war period.
I had come across the complete recording of Antonín Dvořák Rusalka made by Joseph Keilberth, the first principal conductor of the Staatskapelle after 1945. My interest was aroused. How would a production of Rusalka presented among the ruins of Dresden sound to us today?
Would it have anything to say to us or would it be smothered in the dust of theatre history?
Now came a seemingly endless period of impatient waiting until the old tapes had been played through to divulge their secrets for the first time in decades. The old AGFA tape boxes labelled in Cyrillic had been ravaged by time and were faded, while the typewritten cast lists pasted on them had yellowed.
I candidly confess that the names did not yet mean much to me.
Antonín Dvořák: Rusalka
daraus: Arie der Rusalka Lied an den Mond
Dirigent: Joseph Keilberth
Aufnahme: Sender Dresden 1948
→ WEITERE DETAILS: RUSALKA
Excitedly I loaded and started the first tape – and became more ecstatic from scene to scene.
And then there was “O silver moon” …
The aria is really an old warhorse, but I had never heard it sung so ardently, in such a passionately pleading and yet vulnerable tone.
This Rusalka pierced me to the heart. What was it in this voice that spoke to me so spontaneously and brought
tears to my eyes?
This “rediscovery” was something I could and would not keep to myself.
This Rusalka definitely had to be included in the “Staatskapelle Edition”.
So I set about finding out all I could in Dresden about the singer with a “tear in her Puccini voice”, as Joseph Keilberth had so aptly characterized her.
Giacomo Puccini: La Bohème
Erinnerungen von Elfride Trötschel in einer Radio-Porträtsendung.
anschließemd: Man nennt mich jetzt Mimi Arie der Mimi
Elfride Trötschel – Mimi
Dirigent: Gerhard Wiesenhütter
Aufnahme: MDR Sender Leipzig im Sendesaal des Funkhauses in der Leipziger Springerstraße am 26. September 1947
→ WEITERE DETAILS: LA BOHÈME
Older Dresden opera-lovers and Staatskapelle musicians go into raptures whenever the name Elfride Trötschel is mentioned.
I never fail to be surprised by the extent to which the soprano lives on in the memory of many Dresdeners and is revered to this day. Is it because of her warmhearted and endearing nature or because of her artistic mastery?
Both, I suppose.
“Elfride”, as Staatskapelle musicians affectionately refer to her, not only had exceptional vocal and acting ability; she truly lived her roles.
On stage every evening, she was transformed into one of many fragile female figures, whether Rusalka, Katya Kabanova, Tatyana, Mimí or Butterfly, suffering and perishing just as they did.
Peter Tschaikowski: Eugen Onegin
daraus: Briefszene der Tatjana Und sei’s mein Untergang
Elfride Trötschel – Tatjana
Staatskapelle Dresden · Dirigent: Hans Löwlein
Premierenmitschnitt: Sender Dresden im Mai 1949 im Großen Haus
→ WEITERE DETAILS: EUGEN ONEGIN
“She sang what she felt,” as Professor Reinhard Ulbricht, leader of the Staatskapelle for many years, describes it. And he still sees in his mind’s eye “how Trötschel moves great numbers of people to the point of weeping in her portrayal of the death of Butterfly”.
He was not the only one in the orchestra pit who had to pull himself together “so as not to lay his instrument aside and just listen to her …”.
Lisa Otto, who worked with Trötschel in the Dresden ensemble for many years and was often her rival for roles, venerates her – in spite of many well-remembered examples of her vainglorious behaviour – to this day: “She had a way of ascending into the celestial.” …
Indeed, listening to Elfride Trötschel’s many surviving recordings, it is still possible to sense the feeling of profound kinship that existed between the soprano with the lyrical voice and her audience.
I was just a child when Elfride Trötschel died in 1958 at the age of forty-four, just at the beginning of what would surely have been a magnificent international career. I never saw her on stage, but when anybody refers to the Dresden Rusalka or the singer who played the leading role, I can say that it is the forceful quality of her voice that has inspired me – six decades later – to produce the „Semperoper Edition“
An impressive archive of tape recordings is what remains to remind us of a deeply sensitive singer who consumed herself in playing her roles like a candle burning at both ends. Performed at the Dresden opera ensemble’s makeshift venue at the very end of the tram line in outlying Bühlau, her portrayal of Rusalka was literally of existential importance to starved and traumatized citizens of the devastated city in 1948.
That lends force to the question as to who the person was behind the celebrated singer who brought people such lasting consolation and hope.
Suggestions from Christel Goltz and Dresden broadcasting colleagues finally led me to Elfride Trötschel’s son, a veterinary surgeon in Franconia.
The endearing and warm-hearted reception Andreas Trötschel gave me confirmed the picture I had already formed of Elfride Trötschel.
The table was very soon littered with personal letters, photos and family albums. To cut a long story short, the artist’s career came to life for me – the more so because Andreas Trötschel is able to present the life of his famous mother in a way that is both modest and sensual …
→ WEITER: PERSÖNLICHE ERINNERUNGEN von Andreas Trötschel
Weitere Beiträge zu Elfride Trötschel
|→||PERSÖNLICHE ERINNERUNGEN von Andreas Trötschel|
|→||BESEELTER GESANG von Jens Uwe Völmecke
|→||ELFRIDE TRÖTSCHEL – OPERNPARTIEN|
|←||REGISTER-SEITE “MITTELDEUTSCHE OPERNSÄNGER”|
CDs mit Elfride Trötschel
|Antonín Dvořák: RUSALKA Gesamtaufnahme von 1948
EDITION STAATSKAPELLE DRESDEN VOL. 6
|Leoš Janáček: KATJA KABANOWA Gesamtaufnahme von 1949
EDITION STAATSKAPELLE DRESDEN VOL. 16
|Antonin Dvořák: DER JAKOBINER Querschnitt 1944
EDITION STAATSKAPELLE DRESDEN VOL. 19 PH 07031
Paul Hindemith: DIE JUNGE MAGD I Ernst Toch: DIE CHINESISCHE FLÖTE
Carl Maria von Weber: DER FREISCHÜTZ
|“GOTT, WELCH DUNKEL HIER!”
DIE STUNDE NULL Dresdner Opernszenen in ersten Rundfunkaufnahmen nach 1945
SEMPEROPER EDITION VOL. 1 HP 1007
Ludwig van Beethoven: FIDELIO Unvollständige Gesamtaufnahme von 1948
Carl Maria von Weber: DER FREISCHÜTZ Gesamtaufnahme von 1951
ELFRIDE TRÖTSCHEL · Lied Bekenntnisse