Wonderful Collection, Wonderful Singer
Marc Musnick | 06/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I disagree with the comment that she was not physically suitable to Wagnarian roles. With Norman, it was voice first and foremost and despite her size, she was wonderful as Kundry and Sieglinde. Both roles are highly physical. She excelled beautifully at the Met as Elizabeth in TANNHAUSER which is similar to Elsa in LOHENGRIN. Deborah Voigt was as large as Norman when she had a huge triumph at the Met as Elsa in LOHENGRIN. Jane Eaglen also had a success at the Met as Isolde and was just as large as Voigt and Norman.
Norman has not appeared in opera for a number of years now so I'm convinced she's retired that part of her career. This collection proves she was one of the most important Wagnarian singers of her generation. She was in the tradition of the grand vocal gesture capped with absolutely goregous sound."
A valuable survey of Jessye Norman in diverse roles
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jessye Norman didn't have an extensive career on the stage in Wagner. She was physically unsuitable for a role like Elsa in Lohengrin, which she recorded quite successfully. Her main roles were Kundry in Parsifal and Sieglinde in Die Walkure. Here Philips has gathered excerpts from a few operas plus an early CD of the five Wessendonck Lieder and the Love-Death from Tristan under Colin Davis's direciton (she recorded the latter twice more, first with Tennstedt, then with Karajan in his last years on the podium).
For Jessye's fans, a lot of this material will overlap the complete operas: Lohengrin with Solti (Decca) and Parsifal with Levine (Philips), and the excerpts here are measger, anyway. Room was made for long stretches of sieglinde's music, derived from Levine's Ring cycle from the Met (DG). If you don't own these recordings, here is Norman as she was on stage, huge of voice, dramatically static, and always the grand diva. Wagner doesn't show her off in the best light, and yet se remains a unique artist whose like hasn't arrived on the scene yet."