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Richard Wagner Edition - Lohengrin / Peter Schneider

Release Date: 07/01/1992 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 434602   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Wagner
Performer:  Cheryl StuderPaul FreyEike Wilm SchulteEkkehard Wlaschiha,   ... 
Conductor:  Peter Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival OrchestraBayreuth Festival Chorus
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 32 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is part of a Richard Wagner Edition from Philips that also includes the complete (mature) oeuvre in video versions, all but The Ring and Hollander different from those reviewed here on CD only. The best news is the first issue of a splendid performance of Lohengrin. This was not recorded live during the Festival but in the previous June, while a video of the Werner Herzog production was presumably being taken (a similar procedure was followed by Philips in 1985 for the Kupfer staging of Der fliegende Hollander, a recording also included here). This explains why you can hear the gentle splash of water at the start of Act 2, which was set by Herzog beside a lake. I saw and heard this staging twice, in 1987 and 1988, and was on both Read more occasions impressed by the production and musical interpretation. The underrated Schneider conducts a straightforward, no-nonsense reading in the best Kapellmeister tradition, avoiding the extremes of tempo interpretation of such higher-powered conductors as Barenboim and Levine, recently dominant in Bayreuth. Schneider obtains playing and singing of the highest calibre from the Bayreuth orchestra and chorus, sustains the long and sometimes tedious-seeming paragraphs of Acts 1 and 2 without ever allowing boredom to intervene, and brings extraordinary tension to such forward-looking scenes as Lohengrin's arrival, the Ortrud-Telramund dialogue and the psychologically intense duet for Elsa and Lohengrin in Act 3. This is an interpretation ranking not far below Kempe's classic EMI version now on CD.

Elsa was one of the roles with which Studer made her name on the international scene; she sings it here once more with refulgent tone, understanding of the text and comprehension of Elsa's dreamy then troubled personality. Particularly affecting is her desperate appeal to Lohengrin at the end of Act 2 beginning ''Mein Retter!''. But she hasn't quite the radiance and peculiarly German quality evinced by Grummer for Kempe or by Muller on the wartime version under Heger recently issued by Preiser. The Canadian tenor Paul Frey is often a sensitive, chivalrous Lohengrin, even if his voice hasn't quite the Heldentenor strength of Volker (Preiser). His voice is surprisingly similar to that of Jess Thomas (Kempe). As with that estimable American tenor, he is good at suggesting the upright, elevated nature of Lohengrin and his mission but, like his predecessor, sometimes lapses into wooden phrasing—the start of the love duet is a case in point. Both he and Studer seem here a shade tentative, wanting in inner passion.

Evil is reasonably well represented. Wlaschiha is among the most vital and nasty of Telramunds, keenly projecting the character's chip-on-the-shoulder malevolence of the words, though he misses that touch of nobility gone wrong that Uhde (on the old Bayreuth/Decca set, 2/54—nla) and Fischer-Dieskau (Kempe) manage. Schnaut has an imposing, powerful soprano so that the highest reaches of her role are more easily encompassed than by some recent, mezzo interpreters, but you only have to listen to Klose (Preiser) and Ludwig (EMI), both admittedly mezzos but with fine high registers, to realize how much more can be made of the words than Schnaut achieves. Schenk is a well-routined King, Schulte a superb Herald. Incidentally, it is careless of Philips not to realize that Schneider observes the traditional (Wagner's) cut just before Lohengrin's Farewell: the passage is printed in full in the booklet.

-- Alan Blyth, Gramophone [10/1992]
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Works on This Recording

Lohengrin by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), Paul Frey (Tenor), Eike Wilm Schulte (Baritone),
Ekkehard Wlaschiha (Baritone), Manfred Schenk (Bass), Clemens Bieber (Tenor),
Peter Maus (Tenor), Robert Riener (Baritone), Heinz Klaus Ecker (Bass),
Natsue Von Stegmann (Soprano), Rachel Robins (Soprano), Akiko Makiyama (Mezzo Soprano),
Katalin Benei (Mezzo Soprano), Sara Fulgoni (Soprano), Helen Lawson (Soprano),
Kristina Gloge (Soprano), Martina Beier (Soprano), Kriemhild Stettner (Mezzo Soprano),
Isolde Claassen (Mezzo Soprano), Yehudit Silcher (Alto), Gabriele Schnaut (Soprano),
Philippa Thomson (Alto)
Conductor:  Peter Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1847; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Live  Festspielhaus, Bayreuth, Germany 
Length: 212 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: German 

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