German soprano Christiane Karg has been heard mostly in operatic settings, but here she shifts gears effectively for the more intimate world of Richard Strauss' songs. Strauss composed most of his lieder for a pair of singers, one of them his wife, and the "secret invitation" of the title (which comes from one of the songs included) seems to connote a kind of secret vocal language as well as the lightly romantic mood of most of the music. Many sopranos avoid the songs for this reason, but Karg makes them her own. She avoids overdramatic moves, but she also makes you aware that you're listening to Strauss, not Schubert. The program is a good mixture of familiar pieces (although some standards that do not fit the theme are missing) and obscure tunes like Madrigal (track 13); the latter will be reason enough for some Strauss buffs to acquire the release. But the sense of fun that pervades the whole, not something you typically associate with Strauss, is the best reason. Berlin Classics benefits from above-average Bavarian Radio studio sound.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Drei Lieder der Ophelia, op. 67 Nr. 1-3|