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A pupil of the sopranos Regina Werner-Dietrich and Claudia Visca in Leipzig and Vienna, respectively, and of the mezzo-soprano Anne Howells in London, Britta Glaser developed from mezzo- soprano to lyric soprano. In 2016 she sang Cherubino and the year before, Isabella in Rossini’s Italian Girl in Algiers, both at the Hamburg Opera. Her avian, delicate voice is pleasing in timbre and especially suited to some of the more chirping Strauss songs. Hers is an early music sound at times, possibly due to the conscious suppression of vibrato. Mahler’s ‘Changing of the Summer Guard’ from Des Knaben Wunderhorn includes verses about a cuckoo that do indeed sound like a cuckoo here. There is no discernible stylistic difference between these songs and others by Othmar Schoeck, whose own lied entitled Cuckoo states outright that not all birdsong is equivalent. Understanding, if over-deferential accompaniment by Veit, who studied voice as well as piano, is humdrum in Mahler, waiting for the singer to lead the way and then being amenable, with an oddly tranquilized result.

Benjamin Ivry Read the full review on Agora Classica


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