OP0092. LOHENGRIN, recorded 1998, w. Barenboim Cond. Staatskapelle Ensemble; Peter Seiffert, Emily Magee, Deborah Polaski, René Pape, Falk Sreuckmann, etc. (Germany) 3-Teldec 21484, Slipcase Edition w.Elaborate Libretto-Booklet. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 639842148429
“In the 1990s, Daniel Barenboim recorded all ten Wagner operas for Teldec, the classical music company owned and distributed by Warner Brothers.
This 1998 recording of LOHENGRIN has a strong, if idiosyncratic cast. Emily Magee is an idiosyncratic, dreamy Elsa who does not match up to some of the more famous sopranos who have tackled this difficult role. However, she emerges from a dream-like state to evolve into a fully realized heroine. Ms. Magee is well-matched with Deborah Polaski, who is a favorite on Mr. Barenboim's recordings. Here, she is Ortrud, the villainess of the piece, and their clash in Act II makes for exciting aural theater. Peter Seiffert is heroic in the title role, singing with noble tone. Unusually, Barenboim chooses to open the standard cut in the second stanza of ‘In Fernem Land’. This verse gives Lohengrin's perspective on the events of the last three acts, and increases the tragic weight of the opera's final scene. And Wagnerphiles take note: this is only the second recording of LOHENGRIN to include the whole aria. (The cut was suggested by Wagner before the opera's premiere. He had doubts about an under-powered tenor in the title role.) Falk Struckmann, another ‘regular player’ in Mr. Barenboim's cast, is good, if not ideal as Telramund, the baritone villain who is caught in the machinations of his wife Ortrud's plot. He has a powerful, dark voice, and is especially strong in the big Act II duet with Ms. Polaski, as the two of them bicker beneath the castle walls and then mutually declare their villainous nature.
Mr. Barenboim is an expert Wagner conductor with pin-point control over his Staatskapelle Belin forces. He frequently uses rubato to speed and slow the pacing as needed. This pays off in Act III following the death of Telramund as the orchestra detonates with shattering force. The playing is top-drawer, as is the choral work. The choristers are crystal-clear, providing the flexible many-voiced instrument that is crucial for this opera's many public scenes.”
- Paul J. Pelkonen, Superconductor, 28 Jan., 2011
“Daniel Barenboim’s strong Wagnerian credentials justify yet another recording of LOHENGRIN. His conducting, brisk in the public scenes but always perceptive and organically conceived, certainly challenges the finest interpretations, among them Kempe’s classic reading of 1963 (EMI). Barenboim’s Peter Seiffert combines the best qualities - attractive in tone, intelligent in musicianship. Emily Magee, affecting as Elsa, is a real discovery.
Falk Struckmann and Roman Trekel are excellent as Telramund and the Herald, while René Pape, projecting both authority and humanity with his richly burnished tone, is the finest King Henry to date. Barenboim gives the score absolutely complete: rightly in the case of the traditional damaging cuts, more arguably in restoring the second part of the Grail Narration. He argues the latter case convincingly, but Wagner never rescinded his instruction to cut that passage, fearing an anti-climax, and on balance I believe he was right.”
- BBC Music Magazine, 20 Jan., 2012