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Excerpt from a Lecture „Salzburg Music Theater 1947 – 1949”

 .....and then, in 1947, we were looking for a conductor for the world première of Gottfried von Einem’s “Dantons Tod”, which I directed and for which it had been possible to obtain the great stage designer Caspar Neher. The choice of conductor fell to Otto Klemperer. He came to Salzburg but his health in these first years after the war was very poor. So we had to find an assistant, who would be able to study and rehearse the whole opera and then agree to conduct the last of the seven performances.”

At that time, the Budapest City Orchestra with the conductors Szomogy and Ferenc Fricsay was giving guest performances in Salzburg. Ferenc Fricsay immediately agreed to step in as the assistant. Karajan commented on Prof. Schuh’s decision with the words: "You were right to take Fricsay. He will have greater appeal to the audience."

About two weeks prior to the world première, Klemperer, who was by now seriously ill, said,” I cannot and do not want to conduct this Opera.” And so Fricsay took over as musical director. He worked with enormous intensity; Orchestra, singers and soloists all gave their outmost. Not only the music was of the greatest importance to Fricsay but he also wanted clarity so that the words as sung were sure to be understood. The cast for the première was unique: Maria Cebotari as Lucille, Paul Schöffler as Danton and Julius Patzak sang the part of Desmoulins.

Prof. Schuh:” The day after the première Fricsay was a name the whole world talked about. Offers started to pour in   ....”

Prof. Oskar Fritz Schuh

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