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Inga Nielsen - Voices, Live & Studio Recordings


Release Date: 10/23/2007 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10444   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric HandelWolfgang Amadeus MozartLudwig van BeethovenGaetano Donizetti,   ... 
Performer:  Inga NielsenKnut SkramPlacido DomingoAntonio Pappano,   ... 
Conductor:  Christopher HogwoodGustav KuhnGerd AlbrechtAntonio Pappano,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony OrchestraRoyal Danish OrchestraOslo Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

One of the most versatile of today’s singers … this set of mostly live recordings is a fine portrait of her abilities.

No, it’s not a misprint in the header! The earliest recording on this set was made in the USA in 1952, by the then six-year-old Inga Nielsen, accompanied at the piano by her father Arne. Moreover there are two sides from her first commercial record, issued by Columbia in 1955. She was nine! It is easy to realize, when hearing her musical phrasing and care for the texts in 1955 that she was something beyond a pretty voice.

Christopher Robin is saying his prayers is narrated with dramatic insight. Listening to the mature soprano it is her declamation and inflexion of the words that stand out
Read more just as much as her voice: agile and lyrical in the excerpts from the early 1980s, full-bodied and dramatic in the arias from latter years. It is amazing how well preserved her voice is in August 2006 when she is heard singing with tremendous power Chrysothemis’s solo from Elektra. It is a little sad though, that one of her favourite encores, Sweet little Jesus Boy, recorded as recently as April this year (2007) shows a marked vocal deterioration. Her phrasing is as innate and moving as ever but the tone is frayed and the intonation uncertain.

On the first CD we hear her in some favourite operatic roles. The span is wide, from baroque to Richard Strauss and the highlights are numerous. Her Fidelio aria is superb – less than a half-year before this performance she had recorded the opera complete for Naxos, a version that is among the most recommendable in the catalogue. Both her Lucia and Violetta are moving experiences – in the long scene from the second act of Traviata we also meet Norwegian baritone Knut Skram as a good Germont. From an outdoor event in the ‘Parken’-Stadium in Copenhagen, before an audience of 28,000, we get a glowing performance of the big duet from Manon, where Inga Nielsen is partnered by a Placido Domingo on top form. Elisabeth’s Greeting Song from Tannhäuser is another superb reading as is the Empress’s solo from Die Frau ohne Schatten.

As a recitalist she is lively and communicative, especially in the two Brahms songs. The beautiful Reger song is lyrical and sweet, accompanied by a very young Antonio Pappano in 1984. She sings the aria from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with beautiful hushed legato. Nielsen first made her mark as a Mozart singer and in the big concert aria K505 she shows her credentials in that capacity. Here Pappano is both conductor and pianist. The last song from Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder – Abendrot is beautifully inward but extremely slow. Of all the recorded versions in my collection only René Kollo’s is more expansive.

Arnold Schönberg’s monodrama Erwartung – 30 minutes long – is surely the toughest nut here, both for the singer and the listener. Nielsen has become something of an Erwartung missionary – she even went on a European tour in 2005 with this work. I can’t say I have come to terms with this piece which, besides its musical complexity, is also textually difficult to access. I felt that this reading from 2003 brought me closer to the music than any other I have heard.

In lighter fare she is a glorious Hanna Glawari in The merry widow, sung in Danish and in the song from Showboat she adjusts to the lazy swing arrangement and adopts a smoky Sarah Vaughan tone.

Inga Nielsen is a remarkable singer and her versatility is stunning. She has also been wise in her choice of repertoire, not rushing into heavier roles too early. This has also allowed her to maintain her professional career for 35 years, which is the reason for this retrospective album. Ms Nielsen has written very informative and personal notes on the music and her roles. The booklet is adorned with numerous photos from her various roles. Her many admirers should without delay lay hands on this attractive pair of discs.

-- Göran Forsling, MusicWeb International

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Works on This Recording

1.
Athalia, HWV 52: My vengeance awakes me by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
2.
Idomeneo, K 366: Estinto è Idomeneo?...Tutte nel cor vi sento by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gustav Kuhn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Munich, Germany 
3.
Fidelio, Op. 72: Abscheulicher!...Komm, Hoffnung by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gerd Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Danish Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
4.
Lucia di Lammermoor: Il dolce suono "Mad Scene" by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gustav Kuhn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
5.
La traviata: Deh non mutate in triboli by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano), Knut Skram (Baritone)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
6.
Faust: O Dieu! que de bijoux! by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugene Kohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish Radio Sinfonietta
Written: 1859 
7.
Manon: Toi! Vous! Oui... c'est moi! by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor), Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugene Kohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish Radio Sinfonietta
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Notes: Composition written: France (1883 - 1884). 
8.
Tannhäuser: Dich, teure Halle by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Michael Schonwandt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
9.
Die Frau ohne Schatten, Op. 65: Wehe, mein Mann! by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Michael Schonwandt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
10.
Elektra, Op. 58: Ich kann nicht sitzen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Michael Schonwandt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1908; Germany 
11.
Schlichte Weisen (60), Op. 76: no 3, Waldeinsamkeit by Max Reger
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano), Antonio Pappano (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1912; Germany 
12.
Romances and Songs (5), Op. 84: no 4, Vergebliches Ständchen by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano), Friedrich Gürtler (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1877-79; Austria 
13.
Deutsche Volkslieder (49), WoO 33: no 33, Och Moder, ich well en Ding han by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano), Friedrich Gürtler (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1894; Germany 
14.
Stabat Mater: Vidit suum dulcem natum by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1736; Pozzuoli, Italy 
15.
Ch'io mi scordi di te...Non temer, amato bene, K 505 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Four Last Songs, AV 150: no 4, Im Abendrot by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ingo Metzmacher
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1948; Germany 
17.
Erwartung, Op. 17 by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gerd Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Vienna, Austria 
18.
Die lustige Witwe: Ih, du gode Gud! by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
19.
Show Boat: Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man by Jerome Kern
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Firman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish Radio Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USA 
20.
Sweet Little Jesus Boy by Robert MacGimsey
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano), Lars Hannibal (Guitar), Michala Petri (Recorder)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
21.
The year's at the spring by Anonymous
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano), Arne Nielsen (Piano)
22.
Christopher Robin is Saying his Prayers "Vespers" by Harold Fraser-Simson
Performer:  Inga Nielsen (Soprano), Esther Vagning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1924; England 

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