LABELS: Oehms Classics
PERFORMER: Falk Struckmann, Michael König, Camilla Nylund, Robert Hayward, Michaele Schuster Ortrud, Daniel Schmutzhard; Frankfurt Opera/ Bertrand de Billy
CATALOGUE NO: OC 946
Lohengrin used to be the most popular of Wagner’s operas, on account of its tunefulness and its high-Romantic subject matter, with its distressed maiden and knight in shining armour. To judge from CD and DVD releases, it may be retaining its old position. This new recording, ‘live’ from staged performances in Frankfurt, is a good but ultimately not a distinguished account. It’s unusually complete, though it doesn’t contain the second part of Lohengrin’s narration. The singing is on a generally fairly high level, with exceptionally good enunciation of the text from everyone (the booklet gives the full German text but no translation).
Michael König makes a noble but insufficiently unworldly hero and Camilla Nylund a winning if slightly mature Elsa. Robert Hayward sings the villain Telramund straightforwardly while Michaela Schuster as his consort Ortrued manages to sound sinister, but doesn’t have the lung power for her most imposing passages, such as the invocation of the pagan gods. The two stentorian male parts, the Herald and the King, are exceptionally well sung – these parts can easily turn into monotonous bawling. The chorus and the orchestra cope well with Bertrand de Billy’s demands on them: he tends to broad tempos. The question remains of whether we need another Lohengrin in an exceptionally large field that includes many classic recordings.