Among 'Lohengrins', this stands proud
J. F. Laurson | Washington, DC United States | 10/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
The previous 'review' may not have been helpful - but his five stars are appropriate, all the same. Not because Lohengrin needs five stars (either you like it or you do not - hopefully you know that before you spend $50 on a recording), but because the 1954 Jochum conducted performance is one of the finest that can be had. The cast is stupendous. Windgassen and Nielsson are at their very vocal heights, dieskau makes a great herold (his voice and way of singing being very suited to that role) and best of all: this may be the best recording of Astrid Varnay in the role of Ortrud - and no other singer (ever!) has achieved the delicious evil-ness that Varnay bestows Ortrud with. I am not someone who thinks that all good singing took part in the past... it just happens so that the most characterful singer in that role, to date, has recorded her best version in the 50s. (If you have the Sawallisch recording - formerly Philips, now Decca - you will know what I am talking about... and you will still want to try this recording as it offeres an improvement in some of the other roles.)
The 1954 Jochum Lohengrin can be had on several labels. I have not listened to but heard less-than-enthusiastic things about the sound on the Opera D'oro and I've heard only good things about the new remastering on Archipel. Either are significantly less expensive than the Melodram issue with which I have been happy so far."