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Colin Clarke
Fanfare, November 2012

Production values for the product itself are…of the first order, including full libretto and English translation, plus synopsis, interesting commentary…and the strangest, most wonderful genogram I have ever seen…

The set begins as it means to go on: purposefully. The opening is fast, but Weigle maintains tension, thanks to the orchestra’s tremendous rhythmic spring. That is not to imply he is relentless, though. He relaxes well into Siegfried’s “Vieles lehrtest du, Mime”…for example, and he sets up the dark atmosphere at the outset of the second act well. The recording ensures there is much to delight the ear. The lower strings at Mime’s “Mein Kind das lehrt dich kennen” are truly gorgeous…Weigle’s identification of the variety of textures available in Siegfried and his musical invocation of them is one of the set’s triumphs. Try his handling of the sparse scoring at the critical structural juncture of Mime’s recounting of Siegfried’s mother’s “death” (where Peter Marsh is himself excellent), or the way he delineates the different scorings for Mime and Wotan in their exchanges. He ensures proper dramatic thrust through the Wanderer/Siegfried scene of the final act. The result: gripping Wagner.

Peter Marsh has a typical Mime voice, and is blessed with great diction. When he opens out his voice, he reveals what a powerful singer he really is. Lance Ryan sounds like a proper Helden-Siegfried right from the start.

The Alberich of Jochen Schmeckenbecher is superb…The Brünnhilde is fresh and sounds young…Kateryna Kasper is a superbly light Woodbird. There is so much to enjoy here…Recommended. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review



Arnold Whittall
Gramophone, October 2012

Sebastian Weigle’s sensitive grasp of the mammoth score’s multivalent moods ensures that the performance retains a powerful grip on the listener and the vividly characterised orchestral playing is well recorded in a restricted but not excessively dry acoustic. In addition, the tirelessly heroic Ryan is well complemented by the other singers, perhaps most strikingly Jochen Schmeckenbecher, whose Alberich initially sounds more like the soulful Wolfram in Tannhaüser than one of Wagner’s more malevolent villains. Schmeckenbecher proves far from lightweight in the role, however, and his vivid encounters with Wotan (Terje Stensvold) and Mime—the excellent Peter Marsh—show the Frankfurt ensemble working at its best. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Robert Levine
ClassicsToday.com, September 2012

This is a fascinating Siegfried, that, while certainly not lacking in power, volume, or intensity, manages to come across as an almost chamber-like performance. The back and forth between Siegfried and Mime in the first act is sassy and natural…The text is always audible and diction is superb; so is the voice/orchestral balance.

The scene changes are handled with true craft…

…the…Wanderer/Alberich duet is a gem: the former calm, the latter manic and desperate. It’s very exciting storytelling.

I suspect this bright “tinta” is due not only to conductor Sebastian Weigle’s leadership and the surprisingly brilliant playing by the Frankfurt forces, whose brass is shiny and whose strings shimmer, but also to two other factors: the spotless recording, in which the harps and triangle can be heard even when up against the full complement of strings and winds, and to the casting. In Lance Ryan, the Siegfried, we have a true tenor…Ryan has no problem with high notes—he even articulates, right on the note…his Forging Song is absolutely joyful…He’s the finest Siegfried I’ve heard in years…

Also helping this shiny “tinta” is the Wanderer of Terje Stensvold, a pure Heldenbariton whose low notes are always there but without the woolly darkness of Hotter. I’d never heard him before and assumed he was new to the opera world; in fact, he is 68 years old and has been singing for decades, with no deterioration of the voice’s core. It is a wonderful performance.

…Weigle’s leadership is paramount. He has no fear of pulling out all the stops, but he never drowns out the singers…this “modern” set is a keeper. © 2012 ClassicsToday.com






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10:59:12 AM, 27 November 2014
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