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A complete change of pace and style with Nina Stemme, caught live in a series of scenes at the Vienna Staatsoper from 2003 to 2013. The Swedish soprano is renowned as the supreme Wagnerienne of her generation and this disc shows why. Large voices can be tricky to record but that doesn’t seem to have been the case here: perhaps the theatre’s famed acoustic helped. Stemme’s voice doesn’t just have decibels but also tonal richness, so if allowed just one word to sum it up, it would be amplitude. She provides the listener with total confidence in her staying power, and one cannot but marvel at an Isolde who sounds so fresh in her final outpourings. She rips through four roles here: Senta, Sieglinde, Brünnhilde (Siegfried) and Isolde. Each is a triumph of even tone, verbal exactitude and stamina. Stemme’s voice really is a gift that keeps giving, plus there is excellent support from conductors Ozawa and Welser-Möst and colleagues including the late, great Johan Botha as Siegmund and Stephen Gould as Tristan.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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