Schwarzkopf and Ludwig are a wonderfully contrasted pair of sisters, the latter capturing Dorabella’s more flighty, open hearted nature to perfection. Schwarzkopf is superb as her more haughty, serious sister, imperious in Come scoglio, truly troubled and emotionally shattered in Per pieta, a performance both beautiful and heart-breaking. Between them, she and Alfredo Kraus make their duet Fra gli’amplessi into a thing of quivering sighs and eroticism. In no other version does that moment of capitulation make quite the effect it does here. Hanny Steffek is just right as Depina, not too sparkily soubrettish, and enjoys herself enormously with Walter Berry’s genially scheming Don Alfonso.
The male lovers are also wonderfully cast, Kraus ardent and poised as the more romantic Ferrando and Taddei a mercurial and vibrant Guglielmo.
Böhm’s experience shines through in every bar and the Philharmonia play sublimely.
I’ve had this recording (originally on LP) in my collection now for almost 50 years now and, though I’ve acquired and heard others since, as a total performance, this one remains my first choice.