FLOTOW: “Martha.” Lucia Popp, Doris Soffel, Siegfried Jerusalem, Sigmund Nimsgern, Karl Ridderbusch; Chorus of the Bavarian Radio; Munich Radio Orchestra conducted by Heinz Wallberg. Eurodisc 7789-2-RG (two compact discs).
Flotow’s 1847 comedy about life among England’s pampered rich receives a performance that infuses new blood into its faded charms. The cast and Wallberg strike an appealing balance between theatrical vivacity and stylistic refinement. In 1977, when the recording sessions were held, the microphones caught Popp and Jerusalem in pristine estate. Her delectable Lady Harriet and his Mickleford abound in sweetness and finesse. The digital remastering gives no cause for complaint. At mid-price, this is a “Martha” worth savoring.