, July 2012
The recording quality is similarly high, but what becomes obvious is the confidence of Sebastian Weigle’s conducting. The chamber-music quality that Quint referred to is clearly audible in the first act, as is the presence of the playing and recorded sound. The latter is evident at the very opening, with its tremendous depth to the burnished strings conveying elemental power. Both Frank van Aken and Eva-Maria Westbroek are stong-voiced from the off, both clearly Wagnerian voices.
Frank van Aken’s Siegmund is remarkably sweet-toned, yet also evinces power; the long-held cries of “Wälse” seem like a throwback to an earlier era, and are all the more refreshing for it. His delivery is gripping, in that he really narrates a tale. Westbroek has recorded two Sieglindes already, including a Berlin Philharmonic one live from Aix…Interestingly, I believe this Siegmund and Sieglinde really are husband and wife in real life. She is tremendous, always focused and positively radiant in the act’s later stages.
As far as pacing is concerned, Weigle does not linger (neither does he rush). His approach is quite natural. The build to the final pages is strong and sure. The act I bravos are well deserved.
Neither does Weigle linger at the opening to act II, which is impulsive in the extreme. Time and time again one revels in the orchestral detail and beauty of sound, yet there is also a strong dramatic thrust from Weigle that propels the drama ever onward.
Weigle drives the end of the act home magnificently…Bullock…is dramatic nonetheless. One also has to admire Stensvold’s pitching in the final stages. An intriguing set, then, if not one to send one scurrying to the shops. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review