Júlia Várady - The Orfeo Recordings

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Orfeo honours Júlia Várady as one of the most important sopranos of the second half of the 20th century with the release of this 10 album boxed set ‘The Orfeo Recordings’ on the occasion of her 80th Anniversary on 1st September 2021.

A significant number of opera lovers and connoisseurs maintain that Maria Callas’ mantle ought to have passed to Júlia Várady, and that the (now eighty-year-old) Romanian-Hungarian-German soprano actually should, in her day, have ascended the international throne of the prima donna assoluta. But as it is said, her loyalty to her two musical homes, the Bavarian State Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, prevented this. Nonetheless, she made guest appearances at all the world’s major opera theaters – but she was apparently not available to the market as unrestrictedly and ubiquitously as would have been necessary for her image, in order for her to be enthroned as the Várady (as the legitimate successor of the Callas). In addition to her loyalty to the two aforementioned opera houses, another reason seemed to be a natural modesty that prevented her from constantly drawing attention to herself (with a reputation, for example, of being the “difficult one,“ or even with scandals). Her marriage to the titan Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in 1977 may also have played a role, as she often and willingly stepped into his shadow.

Excerpts from reviews of previously released volumes included in this set:

Julia Varady sings Wagner

Varady's reading of the Wesendonck Lieder is remarkable, enthralling. There's nothing here of the slow, wallowing approach often favoured today. The feeling of the words is one of very present emotions. And transfiguration is a feature of Varady's concentrated, urgent Liebestod, her complete absorption with the text as much as with the music an object-lesson in great Wagner singing. The players of Fischer-Dieskau's Berlin orchestra cover themselves in glory. The recording is exemplary.

– Gramophone

Julia Varady sings Richard Strauss

The final scene of Salome, under the watchful eye of Varady's husband, Fischer-Dieskau, has the perfection of pitch and phrase one expects of this singer, as well as an expected acuity for the meaning of the text.

– Gramophone 

Julia Varady - Puccini Arias

A lovely and somewhat surprising record by the most fascinating and patrician lyric soprano of the present age: 'surprising' because, though Varady is associated closely enough with Verdi, the Puccini connection is less readily made, 'lovely' because the voice is still so pure, the style so musical and the response so intelligent, immediate and full-hearted. She adjusts wonderfully well to the Italian idiom, lightening the vowels, freeing the upper range, allowing more portamento than she would probably do in other music, yet employing in its use the finest technical skill and artistic judgement.


– Gramophone

Product Description:

  • Release Date: August 20, 2021

  • Catalog Number: ORF-C210086

  • UPC: 4011790210865

  • Label: ORFEO

  • Number of Discs: 10

  • Performer: Júlia Várady