Today would have been the 121st birthday of Wilhelm Furtwängler (if he had been born a superman or robot that lived forever). The German conductor, born January 25, 1886, was memorable for his spastic puppet-like idiosyncrasies on the podium, but even more memorable for his sublime symphony recordings along with a rare smattering of opera.
Favorite Furtwängler recordings in the Opera Chic household? The 1954 Vienna Don Giovanni with Schwarzkopf, and all of his Beethoven Ninth recordings, especially his ethereal Ninth of the Philharmonia Lucerne Festival recording from August 22, 1954.
Fun fact: In some circles of Milanese music critics, Furtwängler (in the party hat) affectionately goes by the sobriquet "Foofie".