Nina Stemme / Thomas Dausgaard

Wagner: Wesedonck-Lieder; Siegfried-Idyll; Overtures

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The highlight of this all-Wagner SACD is Nina Stemme's radiant performance of the Wesendonk Lieder, a collector's item for fans of this highly regarded soprano. Stemme has emerged since the millennium as the leading interpreter of Wagner's heroines, appearing in several major productions and recordings, though this is her first presentation of the Wesendonk Lieder, which calls for a somewhat modulated style of singing and expression. Her smooth delivery and warm tone give the music a special intimacy that is a change from her more heroic operatic roles, and her success here makes a compelling case that she should record more Romantic art songs. The rest of the program is arguably less important, for there are already many collections of Wagner's concert pieces, such as Siegfried Idyll, the Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and the Overture to Die fliegende Holländer, though two versions of that overture are offered for variety's sake. Also included is Wagner's Träume, for violin and orchestra, an instrumental version of No. 5 of the Wesendonk Lieder. While the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard is a competent ensemble that plays fairly accurately with only a few problems that are exposed by the orchestra's small size and the super audio recording, there are better recordings of these pieces in many other compilations.

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