Wagner: Lohengrin - Windgassen, Nordmo Lovberg, Varnay, Neidlinger, Wächter; Maazel. Bayreuth, 1960
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It is rare that a heldentenor will continue to sing the role of Lohengrin while he is already ensconced in Siegfrieds and Tristans. The Mozartian grace this role calls for is often at odds with the heroic demands Wagner put on his tenors. So it is a true testament to Wolfgang Windgassen’s skill as a technician that he is able to revisit this role while in his late forties. Windgassen manages to scale back his voice to create an ethereal yet masculine swan prince. Aase Nordmo Løvberg brings a plangent if somewhat monochromatic tone to the role of Elsa, managing to convey Elsa’s wide-eyed wonder vivdly. Astrid Varnay proves one of the most formidable Ortruds on recording. Her ”Entweihte Götter” is nothing short of hair-raising. Gustav Neidlinger brings all of his artistry that made him such a memorable Alberich to the role of Telramund but it would have been nice to have just a little more vocal glamor in this role. Theo Adam’s König Heinrich and Eberhard Wächter’s Heerrufer are the icing on this Wagnerian cake. Lorin Maazel favors crisp tempos and generally lends a light touch to the proceedings. The sound is excellent.