COMPOSERS: Siegfried Wagner
WORKS: Scenes & Arias
PERFORMER: Roman Trekel (baritone); Cologne WDR SO & Chorus/Werner Andreas Albert
CATALOGUE NO: 999 684-2
In theory, one should be pleased to have a disc of excerpts from operas by Richard Wagner’s son Siegfried, for his 18 operas – ten of them represented here – are virtually unknown today. Indeed, most of them failed to survive their premieres, and from the evidence provided by this disc of baritone arias and scenes it is not difficult to understand why they have not, to put it mildly, retained a place in the repertoire.
Siegfried’s first opera, Der Bärenhäuter, was his most successful, and the symphonic interlude from Act III included here is a Romantic piece, sumptuously scored in the style of the older Wagner. But the aria from Act III which follows is simply dull, and not at all redeemed by Roman Trekel’s attractive baritone timbre and clear projection of the text.
From there, it’s downhill all the way. The excerpt from Der Kobold is somewhat more dramatically lively than the other excerpts, but in general these vocal pieces are sadly lacking in lyrical impulse. They advance the narrative of their respective operas, and that is all. Perhaps Diedrich’s ‘Death Visions’ from Banadietrich, first (and last?) performed in 1910, is the track one is most likely to replay. Charles Osborne