Wagner: Lohengrin - Thomas, Silja, Varnay, Vinay, Crass, Krause; Sawallisch. Bayreuth, 1962
Listen to a Sample:
- The cast of this performance of Lohengrin is the very definition of "all-star."
- Captured here at the height of his vocal powers, Jess Thomas sings the title role with refinement and power.
- Most sopranos stay away from Wagner at age 22, but Anja Silja was (and is) like no other soprano. Silja brings youthful optimisim, purity of tone, and surprising power especially at the top of her voice. And despite her age she paces the role deftly, never pushing or trying to make her voice something that it isn't.
- Veteran soprano, Astrid Varnay, once a fine Elsa herself, sings the role of Ortrud. She manages to deliver oversized Wagnerian sentiment without going over the top into camp. In my opinion Varnay's true brilliance was never truly realized until she started taking on "character parts" and in many ways this performance is more remarkable than her legendary Met debut as Sieglinde opposite Melchoir's Siegmund.
- Ramón Vinay was embarking on a similar downward shift into baritone territory and, unlike other tenors who have made the switch in recent years, Vinay is completely credible as a baritone. You will be hard-pressed to find a more beautifully sung Telramund.
- Tom Krause as the Herald and Franz Crass are the two cherries on this delectable Wagnerian Sundae.
- Unlike the commercial release which was pieced together from the whole run, this recording is the broadcast of the performance on August 3, 1962.
- None to mention.