While nearly universally acclaimed as one of the supreme conductors of the later years of the 20th century, Carlos Kleiber had what could generously be called an extremely select repertoire of pieces. Among his specialties were Strauss operas, and there are five live recordings of Kleiber directing Der Rosenkavalier from the '70s alone, with others potentially waiting to be remastered and released. This Rosenkavalier was recorded in Munich in July 1973 at the Bavarian State Opera, and it is the first and arguably freshest of Kleiber's recordings of the opera. Though rambunctious at first, the audience quickly settles down, and the overall sound is more than acceptable, albeit with some occasional stage noise. The soloists are as good as one could hope for at that period: a youthful Lucia Popp as Sophia, a delightful Brigitte Fassbaender as Octavian, a characterful Karl Ridderbusch as Baron Ochs, and an incandescent Claire Watson as the Feldmarschallin. Kleiber is his usual miraculous self. It's hard to believe one could hear so many details that are so well integrated into the flow of the music and harder to believe that the music could seem so spontaneous yet so sculpted, so effortless, and so relentless. The music is so unified with the drama, and the orchestra so integrated with the voices, that the whole of the performance becomes infinitely greater than the sum of its parts, making this Rosenkavalier truly glorious.