This series of the complete mature operas of Wagner is shaping up to be the most satisfactory set for a very long time of these extremely demanding works. The new Lohengrin claims, like the others, to be the record of a single concert performance, but that is hard to believe: there are no mistakes, either instrumentally or vocally, and not a single noise from the audience. Whatever the truth of the matter, the results are just as fine as they have been in the previous three releases. Janowski has matured into the most reliably impressive Wagner conductor of our time, and he mobilises his excellent forces for the finest commercial recording of Lohengrin since the early 1960s. None of his soloists is a great singer, but they are all good, reliable, and at key moments moving or exciting. The title role is taken by tenor Klaus Florian Vogt, who has a lovely silvery voice, though it occasionally sounds thin; but he is expressive, intelligent and convincing. So is his Elsa, soprano Annette Dasch. The villains match them, especially mezzo-soprano Susanne Resmark as Ortrud, who calls on the pagan gods with thrilling panache. The illusion of a stage performance is created by having the Herald, an important role, sung into the wings, whereas I feel he should be addressing us, too, in fairly stentorian tones.
Once more the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra plays for Janowski with commitment, and the chorus, if not of the highest standard, still makes its mark in Wagner’s richly rewarding music. I await the rest of the Pentatone series with impatience.