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Rutherford won the first Seattle Opera international Wagner competition in 2006, aged just 34, and being sensible has spent the time since building a career with a view to protecting and nurturing his instrument. I find this quite surprising, as to me the voice already sounds overly mature and even worn in parts. So for his Wotan excerpts (a role he hasn’t yet essayed live) he fits the bill and Wotan’s Farewell sounds suitably aged; likewise his Meistersinger chunks have a suitable maturity with which one could kindly call a glow – but then does Hans Sachs have to sound elderly? Surely for a singer in his forties this is worrying. In some roles he just sounds woolly, such as Wolfram, and even as Telramund, a big sing, he sounds blustery. Maybe it’s just Rutherford’s voice and he’s managing it perfectly sensibly, but I think it sounds worrying. Perhaps he’s a singer who needs to be seen, but as a calling card this disc won’t get me rushing to the box office.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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