Wagner: Lohengrin - Domingo, Saunders, Hesse, Ohanesian, Sotin; Kuntsch. Hamburg, 1968
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This captures Placido Domingo's first foray into Wagnerian tenor land and although Lohengrin is certainly one of the most lyric of the Wagner roles, it requires its own style of singing which is leagues away from the roles which made Domingo famous. In many ways Domingo does admirably. Although the role does not have any notes that go above an A natural, it sits within the passaggio which can be very tiring for a tenor and for it to be sung right it requires a purity of tone that is closer to Mozart than Verdi. Domingo is able to hone back his over-sized, baritonal tenor deftly for these passages while not holding back a thing when squillo is called for. The ethereal soprano, Arlene Saunders sings Elsa. Saunders made the very understandable decision to forgo the jet-set life of an international opera singer for the more stable life as a Fest singer in Hamburg. It is a shame as hers was truly a world class instrument. Ruth Hesse is a fiery Ortrud and Hans Sotin is a suave Heinrich. The sound is excellent although there are a few brief glitches during "Einsam in trüben Tagen."