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Schreker is enjoying something of a revival at the moment and these two releases are timely. Orchestrally I can see why, as there is an overwhelming amount to enjoy; both scores use a wide palate to provide some thrilling moments, and Schreker isn’t afraid to pull his punches when it comes to creating a big effect. Dramatically I am less convinced, though these recordings are live and possess immediacy; there are some stretches where one feels that the composer has become so entranced by his orchestral magic that the vocal lines have been neglected. Gerd Albrecht conducts both operas with appropriate brilliance and unleashes some gorgeous sounds. Gabriele Schnaut stars in both, and if you remember her glass-shattering later career you will be astounded at the lyricism, even delicacy, that she brings to her singing here. Josef Protschka and Thomas Moser are her tenors, both good, though the former tending to uncomfortable in extremis and the latter providing a more stentorian tone. The supporting casts are strong and idiomatic. One caveat – neither set comes with a libretto.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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