Wagner der Fliegende Hollander-Johohoe!

By Ashman, Mike | Gramophone, March 2018 | Go to article overview

Wagner der Fliegende Hollander-Johohoe!


Ashman, Mike, Gramophone


Wagner

Der fliegende Hollander--Johohoe! Traft ihr das Schiff im Meere an. Wirst du des Vaters Wahl nicht schelten?. Siegfried--Dort seh' ich Grane, mein selig Ross; Ewig war ich, ewig bin ich; Heil dir, Sonne! Heil dir, Lichti; O Siegfried, Siegfried! Seliger Held!. Tristan und Isolde--Erfuhrest du meine Schmach; Mild und leise wie er lachelt. Die Walkiire--Raste nun hier, gonne dir Ruh! Nina Stemme sop Chorus and Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera Orfeo (F) C937171B (76' * DDD) Recorded live, 2003-13

The Swedish soprano Nina Stemme is, of course, pre-eminent among contemporary Wagnerian singers. But the market choices of today mean that collecting official recordings of her major roles necessitates quite a hike through different labels and even formats--two-thirds of her Briinnhilde, for example, is still only available on DVD. It was never thus with her predecessor Birgit Nilsson.

That fact, however, makes Orfeo's new assembly of live bleeding chunks from a decade of the singer's repertoire at the Vienna State Opera all the more valuable a reminder of the class and range of this artist. We begin in 2003 with two scenes from the Hollander, the voice excitingly forward, the pitching exact and the tricky agilita that Wagner demands in the climactic run-out of Senta's first actual meeting with the Dutchman (Falk Struckmann) expertly negotiated. Also expertly negotiated is Seiji Ozawa's handling of the score which, stylistically, rightly eschews the big moderninstrument bashing of Karajan (and, truth to tell, a little Thielemann) in favour of Weber-influenced point and lightness.

The two excerpts from the then new Vienna Ring of the late 2000s find Stemme in similar pulsating form, although it's a pity that the orchestra under Franz Welser-Most cannot sound as fresh in the entire final scene of Siegfried as their newly awoken Briinnhilde. …

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