Elisabeth Rethberg

COMPOSERS: Giordano,Puccini,Verdi,Wagner
LABELS: Nimbus
WORKS: Arias by Wagner, Verdi, Mozart,
PERFORMER: Elisabeth Rethberg


The Metropolitan Opera in New York was a leading venue for the performance of Wagner’s works beginning in its second season (1884-5). Until 1891, performers included many with whom Wagner himself had worked.

From the mid-1890s to 1917 the Met became in effect a laboratory for developing a performance style that would realise the musical potential of Wagner’s works, as singers who favoured the vivid declamation promoted by Cosima Wagner at Bayreuth alternated with those who offered different kinds of vocal opulence and mastery.

Each approach influenced the others, so that the mid-Twenties inaugurated a quarter-century during which great casts achieved an ideal synthesis of song and declamation. Several recent releases document this history.


When Wagner performance resumed after the Great War, such singers as ELISABETH RETHBERG and FRIEDRICH SCHORR soon emerged to move Wagner-singing to a new level of accomplishment. Rethberg (whose Elisabeth and Elsa are sampled on a Nimbus recital) is a marvel with her clear, effortlessly produced, vibrant, precisely gradated sound and rhythmically alert singing.