The Wonder Varady
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Julia Varady has been called the "Wonder Varady" by music critics. Listening to this, it is easy to tell why. She made this recording when she was around 55 years old. It is an age when you normally would make allowances for the soprano. Not so. Varady doesn't need you to make any allowances for her. She's 55 but she really sounds like a young girl, like age 25. Elisabeth is a young heroine - young and pure, and that's how Varady sounds like. Elsa is also a youthful role and so can Sieglinde be youthful. Listening to Varady, you really wonder how she managed to keep her voice is such wonderful condition considering the fact that she started singing in the early 1960s!!! What's the reason for her vocal longevity? Well, to my mind, there's at least one reason - that is, she sang mostly Mozart and Verdi almost all her life. And Mozart and Verdi are the best medicine for the voice. Birgit Nilsson attributed her own vocal longevity to Mozart and Verdi despite singing heavy roles like Elektra, Brunnhilde and Isolde which normally ruins a sopranos voice in a short time. Karita Mattila, who is now only beginning to transform herself into a full-fledged dramatic soprano (she sang a stunning Salome in Paris this year in which she has been compared to Ljuba Welitsch's status as Salome!!), wants to keep on singing Mozart to keep her voice pure and in good shape. Carlo Bengonzi sang until he was 70 over years old - he was a Verdi singer all his life.Yes, here is passionate and wonderful singing from Julia Varady. Listen and wonder at her beautiful voice and passionate singing."
Flowing lyricism, warm intimacy, radiant beauty ...
Pater Ecstaticus | Norway | 02/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From what I gather, this album is a wonderfully refreshing look on Wagner's music. The overall approach is rather lyrical, maybe even Italianate in style, in its flowing lyricism, but this is not necessarily a bad thing, on the contrary! It was Wagner himself who said that his music should be played and (especially) sung with Italian sense of flowing lines. So in that sense, this album is a complete success, and very especially when the singers are such wonderful artists as Julia Varady and Peter Seiffert. They both convey all the emotions with intelligence and with complete sincerity and conviction, and their fresh, clear and ringing voices blend wonderfully with the lyrically flowing conducting of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: true musicianship of the highest order everywhere. I believe that there has never been such an astutely sensible and intelligent Siegmund as that one here by Peter Seiffert (but all of the same goes for Julia Varady's Sieglinde!); his projection of text and musical lines must be one of the most astute and intelligent one ever heard. Together with his beautiful timbre, this makes it a winning combination. Again I must say that there have IMHO been few characterizations of Sieglinde which are as wonderful as that of Julia Varady here.
All in all, this recording - to this particular listener at least - works as balm to the ears. This album is for those people who like their Wagner most of all to sound, well, beautiful."