Strominger (bass) desires to arrange a marriage between Wally (soprano), his only daughter and Gellner (baritone), and thus slight their old enemy, Hagenbach (tenor), whom they suspect to have designs on Wally. Wally refuses.

A year later Stromminger has died, Wally has inherited his fortune, and Hagenbach is now engaged to Afra.

Wally, enraged through a misunderstanding convinces Gellner to kill Hagenbach, promising that she will be his if he does so. Gellner throws his victim into an Alpine ravine, but Hagenbach survives the attempt, and a repentant Wally rescues him from an impending avalanche only to die in one herself.

With only one memorable aria Ebben ne andro lontana, to remember it by, Catalani’s Verismo melodrama La Wally, with its near impossible technical demands is rarely staged these days despite its libretto by Luigi Illica, and its music offering endless opportunities for a star soprano in which to shine.

In the Theater an der Wien UNITEL DVD release the fast-rising Polish soprano Izabela Matula leads a top notch cast in the central role of the Tyrolean peasant girl Wally. Tenor Leonardo Capalbo is Hagenbach, baritone Jacques Imbrailo sings Gellner, and veteran English basso Alastair Miles takes on the role of Stromminger.

Andrés Orozco Estrada leads the Wiener Symphoniker and Arnold Schoenberg choir, and Barbora Horáková Joly is the stage director.

Rafael de Acha © 2022

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