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Träume (Wagner Arias)

Jenufa Gleich (soprano); BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Fabrice Bollon (Stone Records)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
CD_506019 2781038_Wagner

Träume – Arias from Tannhäuser, Die Feen, Der fliegende Holländer and Siegfried; Wesendock-Lieder
Jenufa Gleich (soprano); BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Fabrice Bollon
Stone Records 5060192781038   59:15 mins


The Wagner arias in this recital are anything but the familiar calling cards from a singer looking to make her mark. It was courageous of the American soprano Jenufa Gleich to begin with Ada’s aria ‘Weh’ mir, so nah’ die fürchterliche Stunde’ from Die Feen. It’s a hugely demanding number from a young composer determined to storm the operatic heights, but Gleich has the measure of its vocal scale. However, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Fabrice Bollon seem intent on breaking the land speed record as they race through Ada’s distress.

Gleich’s account of Senta’s ballad makes you want to hear her sing the role on stage; she has the true measure of Senta’s capacity for self dramatisation as she dreams of the Dutchman. Elizabeth’s two arias from Tannhäuser are handsome enough, though once again in ‘Dich Teure Hall’ the orchestra seem in a hurry to get their hats and coats on.

It’s a brave young soprano who chooses the Wesendonck-Lieder for her first recorded Wagnerian outing, with competitors at every fence and with very great performances from Flagstad and Ludwig to Nina Stemme and Susan Bullock leading the field. Yet Gleich takes the orchestral version of these five lieder in her stride. The best of them is ‘Träume’ to which she brings all her skills as a bel canto-trained singer to Wagner’s languorous musical line. ‘Im Treibhaus’ is well done too, even if a little closely miked for comfort, and you forgive a slightly hesitant start to ‘Der Engel’.

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Christopher Cook