LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Excerpts from Tannhauser, Die Walkiire, Der fliegende Hollander, Lohengrin, Gotterdammerung, Parsifal & Tristan und Isolde
PERFORMER: Waltraud MeierBavarian RSO/Lorin Maazel
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 68766 2
Waltraud Meier was singing the villainess Ortrud in Lohengrin when BMG proudly announced its new signing in February. On her introductory disc with the label, however, she takes the part of the heroine Elsa, and it’s a mark of this great artist’s extraordinary ability to get right inside her roles that the switch is so convincing. She lightens the voice for the innocent Elsa, but darkens it for the anger of Kundry and Isolde, while bringing the appropriate colours for Elisabeth, Sieglinde, Senta, Waltraute and Brünnhilde.
The orchestral playing is superb, Maazel’s accompaniments efficient. Rarely does either conductor or singer touch sublimity, but perhaps that is too much to expect from a disc of bleeding chunks. Best to regard it as an appetite-whetter for greater things yet to come. Barry Millington