COMPOSERS: Beethoven,etc (In English),Mozart,Wagner,Weber
LABELS: Chandos Opera in English
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Great Operatic Arias, Vol. 8
PERFORMER: John Tomlinson (bass); LPO, Philharmonia Orchestra/David Parry
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3076
This second selection of the great bass singing in his own language focuses on German opera from Mozart to Strauss, with an appropriate bias towards Wagner, in whose works Tomlinson has achieved some of his most significant successes.
The voice itself, recorded here between 1998 and 2001, may be just past its prime, but its range of colour and dynamics remains outstanding. Tomlinson has been the Wotan of his day, and the god’s final solo from Rhinegold is voiced with an almost intimidating grandeur of tone.
His versatility comes through in two solos from The Flying Dutchman – both, incidentally, sung in his own translation, as are five other items – the Dutchman’s vehement opening scene (grand in conception, and finely detailed) and the more lyrical piece for Senta’s bourgeois father. Similarly he attempts with conviction both Pogner and Sachs in The Mastersingers, and both Rocco and Pizarro in Fidelio.
Characteristic is his differentiation of Caspar’s two numbers in Der Freischütz, a spurious joviality bouncing the Drinking Song along, an inky-black venom shading the opening of his baleful aria. Sterling work from conductor David Parry and the LPO, top-quality sound and a comprehensive booklet. George Hall