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Marek Janowski keeps a fi rm hand on proceedings in the new Der Freischütz, where he contrasts buoyancy with atmosphere galore, using woodwind and brass to extract maximum effect from Weber’s score. Andreas Schager’s Max is strong if a little wobbly these days, and Alan Held rants and raves enjoyably as Kaspar. Sofi a Fomina is a bright-toned Ännchen, vivacious but not annoying. But most attention will be on Agathe, cover artist Lise Davidsen making her opera recording debut, and carrying the burden of so much hope. And here she reveals her Jugendlich dramatischer (lyric dramatic) soprano in all its youthful glory. Her voice is caught better in this recording than in her debut Decca recital earlier this year, and instead of it sounding as though she sits on a note before adding vibrato, it sounds more ‘live’, as though the voice takes a moment to bloom. Add radiant tone, beautiful legato and some luminous higher notes, and it is a triumph. Half a mark deducted for replacing the dialogue with narration by two actors – why? The rasping woman is particularly awful, sounding like Madge from Neighbours after a night of booze and fags. Talk about overacting.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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