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Gre Brouwenstijn - Operatic Arias

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Audio CD, May 31, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

The Dutch soprano Gré Brouwenstijn has long been held in the highest esteem within her own country, and within a circle of vocal connoisseurs, for the fearless vibrancy of her approach to the great hochdramatisch soprano roles, without ever compromising the standards and ideals of vocal beauty: hers is a voice of great strength and flexibility, fully
able to meet the challenge of projecting both the scale and drama of Wagner's heroines while also inhabiting their more intimate confessions.

1. Ah! perfido! . . . Per pieta, non dirmi addio, scena and aria for soprano & orchestra, Op. 65
2. Der Freischütz, opera, J. 277 (Op. 77): Wie nahte mir der Schlummer... Leise, leise, fromme Weise
3. Tannhäuser, opera, WWV 70: Dich, teure Halle, grüß' ich wieder
4. Tannhäuser, opera, WWV 70: Allmächt'ge Jungfrau, hör mein Flehen!
5. Lohengrin, opera, WWV 75: Einsam in trüben Tagen
6. Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), opera, WWV 63: Johohoe! Traft ihr das Schiff im Meere an
7. Don Carlo, opera: Tu che le vanità
8. Il Trovatore, opera: Timor di me... D'amor sull'ali rosee
9. La forza del destino, opera: Son giunta! Grazie, o Dio!
10. La forza del destino, opera: Pace, pace, mio Dio!

Product Details

  • Conductor: Otterloo, Moralt
  • Composer: Wagner, Beethoven, Verdi, Weber
  • Audio CD (May 31, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Newton Classics
  • ASIN: B004RRW4H4
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,785 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By musichathcharms on June 29, 2011
This collection of arias performed by Gré Brouwenstijn astounds the intellect with the gorgeous rich color of her voice.
But questions quickly surface:
Why are the recordings from a half-century ago being released now in 2011?
Why do audiences not know and revere this soprano from the 1940s and 50s?

The exquisite melodic voice of this angelic soprano washes over the receptive mind to marvel at the quality of sound from Gré Brouwenstijn. She never reaches up to a note or to a run---her voice is already there, and strokes each note sans effort. The quality of tone is superb. The orchestral accompaniments are not even noticed.

While these arias are recognizable, and indeed are favorites to some fans, no doubt the "favorites" of audiences have changed somewhat since the 1950s. Even the style of dress and pose of the artist on the cover seem "old-fashioned", although surely they were the most sophisticated of the time.

The accompanying booklet provides the biography of Gré Brouwenstijn, but falls short of sufficient marketing for this breath-taking vocal talent. To inform and attract more of an audience, the cd tracks could well be listed within the booklet (in addition to the cover), with more of an explanation of the arias---some brief translations, scene descriptions, and interpretations would enrich the grateful listener. Such text may be unnecessary for the sophisticated opera scholar, but more information about the music would enhance the experience for the rest of us.

The reason for this production must be to preserve the gorgeous sound of this diva's recordings for posterity. The cd presents most excellent sound, but perhaps the original recording was of less quality than easily available now. The depth, accuracy, lyrical beauty of this soprano must be preserved for the enjoyment of audiences now and in the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 31, 2011
Before listening to this recital, I knew and admired Dutch soprano Gré Brouwenstijn from her contribution as a vibrant Sieglinde to the famous 1961 studio recording of "Die Walküre" by conducted Leinsdorf, as a shining soloist in Beethoven's Choral symphony conducted by Cluytens and as Desdemona in the live Covent Garden performance of "Otello" conducted by Kubelik. These all require a big, secure, imposing voice and although Brouwenstijn had her detractors, on account of an intermittently tremulous quality in her tone and a lack of variety in expression, she was also one of the most admired and sought after lyric-dramatic sopranos of the 50's and 60's throughout Europe. While I recognise her many gifts, I admit to being a little disappointed by the evidence of her art on this compilation of mono recordings from two sessions in 1952 and 1956; there is sometimes a wearing shrillness in alt and a monotony in her characterisation which for me compromises her art.

An elegant and striking woman of an unorthodox beauty often compared to that of Ingrid Bergman, she evidently made quite and impact onstage. On record, certain vocal flaws are more in evidence. Her forays into Verdi evince a lack of Italianate sensuousness and warmth; hence her Elisabetta and two Leonoras sound almost boyishly plaintive and disembodied in tone, lacking the heroic steadiness and refulgence of voice which mark out the greatest Verdian sopranos. "Ah, perfido" has never struck me as one of Beethoven's more inspired compositions and it is over-long at over thirteen minutes, but Brouwenstijn's cooler, more Germanic temperament and vocal lay-out suit both this and the Weber aria better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Abert on August 28, 2011
To quite a number of people, the distinction between a 'lirico spinto soprano' and a 'light dramatic soprano' or 'dramatic soprano' is difficult to be drawn.
Listening to 20th century Dutch soprano Gre Brouswenstjin, the question easily pops up once more.
In this compilation, we hear German composers like Beethoven, Weber and Wagner, and in the other half, the Italian operatic tycoon Verdi's famous roles.
Brouswentsjin was famed for the roles of the 'two Leonoras' in Verdi's 'Il Tovatore' and 'La Forza del Destino'. In this recording we have arias taken from both, as well as Don Carlo's Queen Elisabetta de Valois.
I think sometimes people tend to mix up a Verdian soprano (whom generally speaking requires a lirico spinto soprano) with a 'dramatic soprano'.
As far as Brouswenstjin is concerned, she is NOT a dramatic soprano, judging from the tracks in this compilation.
This is especially true of her Wagner - Senta's aria from 'The Flying Dutchman' is considerably underpowered, while she is brilliant in Beethoven and Weber. To be exact, her middle and lower registers are not as well-developed as a typical dramatic soprano would have.
As for Verdi, I don't think Verdian sopranos need any thing beyond the prowess of a spinto soprano. They need not go to the length of the 'verismo dramatic sopranos' for roles like Turandot, Francesca di Rimini, or Gioconda.
Hence, I find Brouswentjin's Verdi generally adequate. As a Dutch soprano, she really lived up to her fame as being the north European Verdian soprano during her lifetime.
The recordings are in mono, with good sound, though the introduction is a bit on the scarce side, hence the 4 stars.
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