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Lohengrin

19 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 13, 2011
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 13, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B0057JWWPA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #540,352 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is a beautiful modern recording of one of Wagner's most accessible works. Abbado, famous for his Verdi conducting, directs a strong, passionate performance. Siegfried Jerusalem may lack the tonal beauty of Domingo in this role, but he pays more attention to the text and is willing to carefully shade his voice in the more introspective moments. Cheryl Studer is a radiant Elsa, her reedy tone projecting both innocence and goodness. She is not quite as dramatically aware as she was on her earlier live recording from Bayreuth, but her singing is even more beautiful here. Waltraud Meier sings a stupendous Ortrud, bringing both beauty of tone and sensuality to a role normal sung by roaring harpies. Many people claim the Solti recording of this opera as the best, but I prefer this one for its beauty and simplicity.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By dv_forever on January 30, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Claudio Abbado had no recorded history with Wagner upon making this sumptuous Lohengrin which goes right to the top. I was initially very skeptical as the famous prelude opened. It is much faster than many conductors take it and the dreamy atmosphere is not allowed to envelope the listener to the degree one hears with Furtwangler or Karajan. But the glorious Vienna Philharmonic keeps one's hopes through the prelude and onto the main event.

The two leads sound fabulous and just right for the part. Studer and Jerusalem make a great team indeed. All the supporting parts are evenly balanced, the chorus is ravishing in the big numbers such as Elsa's Bridal Procession. I compared Abbado's take directly with the famous Solti/Domingo/Norman on Decca as well as Karajan's EMI account. It's safe to say that all three have magnificent orchestras and choral work. Solti has Domingo who is terrific but I have a difficult time his voice in this music, just too Italian for me. Jessye Norman is too mature and grandiose for the delicate Elsa. Decca's sound is fine but lacks the immediacy of DG's work for Abbado here. And to be frank, as good as he is, Solti is not as inspired in Lohengrin as he was in his earlier operatic recordings. As for the Karajan EMI, that really was one of Karajan's rare botched operatic efforts. EMI's sound balances are all over the place, the singers are not on the same level as with Abbado or Solti. Karajan's Lohengrin was made over several years and sounds unfocused.

For all those reasons I pick Abbado as the prime candidate for this opera. His Italian style of bringing out the lyrical, melodic flow in this piece works wonders and yet he doesn't shy away from the big dramatic moments. Apart from that rushed Prelude to Act 1, ( which you can easily find a substitute for ), this is outstanding work and I was certainly impressed by Abbado, a conductor who usually doesn't captivate me.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Wuldrian on August 5, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
On the surface, this could be the most 'on-paper perfect' Lohengrin ever recorded. Just look at the cast: Siegfried Jerusalem as Lohengrin, Cheryl Studer as Elsa, Waltraud Meier as Ortrud, Kurt Moll as the King...what more could you possibly ask for? This should be nothing short of perfection!

And - with but one exception - the singing here indeed varies from excellent to outstanding. Siegfried Jerusalem, the most prominent Heldentenor of the early 1990s, is a predictably strong and reliable swan knight: his voice is manly and muscular (like Jess Thomas' on the deservedly classic Kempe recording); his singing is steady and his interpretation an intelligent one. Siegfried Jerusalem is definitely good enough in the title role - that is, unless you have a very specific preference for honey-sweet Lohengrins in the Domingo mold. That Jerusalem is not.

Everybody's expectations for Cheryl Studer were probably even higher: Elsa was one of her biggest breakthrough roles. And here you can hear why. The only minor regret is that now she verges on sounding too mature and experienced for the role, but one can quickly forgive that given her touching and profound performance. Kurt Moll is another singer who does not entirely meet the high (probably too high) expectations. His voice is still a magnificent profundo, and it has gained even greater depth and gravity with age, which is all good, but, sadly, it also sounds slightly drier and less eloquent than back in the 70s/80s. Yet, that too can be quickly forgiven because of his splendid ensemble singing - and the fact that, just like Gottlob Frick, he has the ideal voice for the role.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
CAST: Kurt Moll [Heinrich der Vogler (Henry the Fowler)] ** Siegfried Jerusalem [Lohengrin] ** Cheryl Studer (soprano) [Elsa von Brabant] ** Hartmut Welker [Friedrich von Telramund] ** Waltraud Meier (mezzo-soprano) [Ortrud] ** Bojidar Nikolov [Nobleman of Brabant] ** Franz Kasemann [Nobleman of Brabant] ** Claudio Otelli [Nobleman of Brabant] ** Peter Köves [Nobleman of Brabant] ** Amy-Linda Domaracki [Page] ** Ingrid Sieghart [Page] ** Senta Fischer [Page] ** Elisabeth Mach [Page] ** Vienna State Opera Concert Chorus [Saxon and Thuringian counts and nobles; Brabantine counts and nobles; noblewomen, pages, vassals, ladies, serfs] ** Vienna Philharmonic ** Claudio Abbado

As much as I adore the Placido Domingo/Jessye Norman/Solti studio recording of Lohengrin made in the early 90's, this 80's recording under the baton of Claudio Abbado with the Vienna Phil and starring Siegfried Jerusalem and Cheryl Studer is in itself a miraculous masterpiece. There is an innately spiritual mood in the music, and none of Abbado's usual Italian mannerisms appear. The singers, especially, are in phenomenal shape, capturing the dramatic strength and dynamics of Wagner's first true great opera. Lohengrin inspired the Bavarian King Ludwig to build a "Swan Castle" Neuschwanstein which still stands today. In this romantic opera, he evokes medieval grandeur and weaves a magic enchantement of a Germany he favored- that of kings, knighthood and esoteric philosphies. Lohengrin, son of Parsifal, meets a tragic end at the hands of the wicked Talmarund and Ortrud. But even worse is the collapse of his marriage to Elsa, whom he had championed. She loses her trust of him when he refuses to give him her name.
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