Magazine article Gramophone

Wagner

Magazine article Gramophone

Wagner

Article excerpt

Wagner  Lohengrin Michael Konig ten                             Lohengrin Camilla Nylund sop                                 Elsa Michaela Schuster mez                            Ortrud Robert Hayward bass-bar                       Telramund Falk Struckmann bass-bar                     King Henry Daniel Schmutzhard bar                           Herald 

Frankfurt Opera and Museum Chorus and Orchestra / Bertrand de Billy Oehms [F] [3] OC946 (3h 34' * DDD)

No sooner has de Billy walked out of the Vienna State Opera in a dispute about cuts in Lohengrin than his first recording of the work is released, the latest in Frankfurt's in-house live recording of what looks like becoming a genuinely complete Wagner cycle. As we learned from the Barcelona Ring DVDs (Opus Arte) the French conductor is a practical, uneccentric Wagnerian who knows how to build and pace an effective performance. What stand out especially here are balances between stage and pit and chorus and the soloists which allow an exceptional amount of detail through in sometimes congested-sounding passages in the outer-act finales. Credit also naturally to the recording for this.

As per normal at this address, the casting is intelligent and original. Nylund is a weightier than is often heard today (cf Kringelborn, Dasch) but clear-as-a-bell Elsa, an instant tonal colour contrast to Schuster's Ortrud, who could be described as less heavy (and certainly less blustery) than might be expected. Hayward is a rather grand, noble Telramund, a credible-sounding regent's guardian rather than a neurotic proto-Macbeth wreck. …

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