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Marschner’s 1828 hit is, along with Hans Heiling, probably his most remembered work. It’s certainly worthy of revival, as this 1999 recording shows it to be a charming piece with some effective orchestration, particularly for woodwind, and a more than passing resemblance to Weber in its evocation of the supernatural. Balanced against the melodramatic high jinks are scenes of a somewhat bucolic sentiment; all in all it’s a great piece of Romantic imagination. Helmuth Froschauer conducts the WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln in a pacey reading of the score that’s detailed and fresh. The cast is very strong. Franz Hawlata is a stentorian Lord Ruthven, the titular vampire, but also has ability to turn an elegant phrase. Likewise, the young Jonas Kaufmann is fresh-voiced as Edgar Aubry with the promise of dramatic tone to come (I know, it’s easy to be wise after the event). Anke Hoffmann sings both Janthe and Emmy, the two brides that get it in the nuptial neck, and Regina Klepper is Malvina, who thankfully doesn’t – their lyric sopranos are well-contrasted and attractive.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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