Dvd

Wagner: Lohengrin (Bayreuth Festival)

Wagner: Lohengrin (Bayreuth Festival)

Georg Zeppenfeld (König Heinrich); Klaus Florian Vogt (Lohengrin); Annette Dasch (Elsa ); Jukka Rasilainen (Telramund); Petra Lang (Ortrud); Samuel Youn (Der Heerrufer des Königs);

"KFV has been singing the role of Lohengrin for 10 years, but he never before sang it so painfully truthful, so beautiful and pleadingly, powerfully and inspired. Vogt is the miracle of this production." (www.stuttgarter-zeitung.de)

Wagner: Parsifal (Baden-Baden Festspielhaus)

Wagner: Parsifal (Baden-Baden Festspielhaus)

Christopher Ventris (Parsifal); Waltraud Meier (Kundry); Matti Salminen (Gurnemanz); Thomas Hampson (Amfortas); Tom Fox (Klingsor);

"It is by a long way the most thoughtful, positive and penetrating view of Parsifal that I have encountered." (The Times)

Wagner: Parsifal (The Royal Opera)

Wagner: Parsifal (The Royal Opera)

Simon O'Neill (Parsifal); Angela Denoke (Kundry / Voice from Above); René Pape (Gurnemanz); Gerald Finley (Amfortas); Robert Lloyd (Titurel); Willard W. White (Klingsor); David Burr Philip (First Knight of the Grail); Charbel Mattar (Second Knight of the Grail); Dušica Bijeli (First Esquire); Rachel Kelly (Second Esquire); Sipho Fubesi (Third Esquire); Luis Gomes (Fourth Esquire);

"... instead of ignoring or sidestepping the more unsavoury aspects of the libretto, Langridge does attempt to tackle many of them, sometimes in lurid detail, so that the disjunction between them and Wagner's sublime music is often disturbingly clear. There's no doubt of that sublimity in this performance either. Antonio Pappano's approach is both diaphanous and radiant, wrapping the vocal lines in veils of string tone and investing the brass statements with unshakeable authority... Vocally the standard is set by René Pape's immaculate, intense Gurnemanz, who makes every syllable in his narrations matter; O'Neill's shambling Parsifal, his tone slightly raw-edged, is perfectly suited to the production, while Finley manages to bring a dimension of nobility to Amfortas's sufferings, and Angela Denoke's tirelessly sung Kundry is the perfect mixture of the chilly and the unattainably seductive. Every one of them is a fully rounded, fully imagined character, and part of a totally involving, if sometimes problematic unity." (The Guardian)

Wagner: Rienzi (Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse)

Wagner: Rienzi (Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse)

Torsten Kerl (Rienzi); Marika Schönberg (Irene); Daniela Sindram (Adriano); Richard Wiegold (Colonna); Stefan Heidemann (Orsini); Robert Bork (Cardinal Orvieto ); Marc Heller (Baroncelli );

"[Steinberg's] reading of Rienzi, too, was full of energy and vitality, well suited to what this music needs. He got a great performance from the Capitole’s orchestra, which is the best in some 400 miles around. The Choirs were also excellent in a very demanding opera for them. [Torsten Kerl] was excellent all along and it can be considered a luxury to have him as Rienzi in Toulouse." (Seen and Heard International)

Wagner: Siegfried

Wagner: Siegfried

John Treleaven (Siegfried); Deborah Polaski (Brünnhilde); Falk Struckmann (Wanderer); Graham Clark (Mime); Günter von Kannen (Alberich);

"With Siegfried (May 16) and Götterdämmerung (May 23), the Liceu crowned the Ring cycle begun last season with complete success at all levels, beginning with Harry Kupfer’s clever production from Berlin. Bertrand de Billy, in his last performances as music director of the theatre, enjoyed a well-deserved personal triumph:...he found the grandiosity and nobility inherent in Wagner’s music as well as its lyrical qualities, and drew a fine response from the orchestra. Deborah Polaski (Brünnhilde,with a moving Immolation) and Falk Struckmann (Wanderer and also a wonderful Gunther) were the prime assets of the cast, but we should not overlook the vocal endurance of John Treleaven, a lyrical Siegfried, Graham Clark’s hyperactive Mime, or the luxury casting of Matti Salminen as Hagen." (Opera)

Wagner: Siegfried

Wagner: Siegfried

Heinz Kruse (Siegfried); Graham Clark (Mime); John Bröcheler (The Wanderer); Henk Smit (Alberich); Jeannine Altmeyer (Brünnhilde);

"There may be reservations about Haenchen's straight, low-profile interpretation of the music (given in the new critical edition, here featuring colourful percussion and sound effects, and some new brass pitches at the opening of Act 3 of Götterdämmerung), or the harshness of Eiko Ishioka's far from conventionally beautiful Japanese theatrical costumes. But there can surely be few about the freshness of Audi's theatrical thinking, and his reinvention of 'deconstructionist' effects – Fafner as his own mouth; a fierily lit and smoked platform to walk into; or the Wanderer's spear presented for Siegfried to break as a huge, ceiling-high, world ash tree-like totem...If you're buying individually, the Audi Götterdämmerung is mandatory." (Gramophone)