The projection is steady, the high notes easily accessed (though with
the threat of spreading evident), and the timbre characterized by a feminine heroism. If one goal
of this recording is to declare “I can sing these roles,” Ms. Stottler succeeds.
But can Ms. Stottler be these characters? As heard here, the soprano does not provide much
interpretation for the ear alone to recognize. In particular, the Isolde heard in the narrative and
curse as well as the Liebestod hardly differs from the Brünnhilde from the final acts of Die
Walküre or Götterdämmerung. In all the selections, Stottler’s voice dominates the aural picture,
with the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic providing a rather
pallid backdrop (Arkady Steinlucht conducts). Most sopranos begin Isolde’s love death with a
haunted, distant quality. Stottler comes on full force, and has nowhere to build to. Her Sieglinde
does have the requisite passion for her act one, scene three moments; still, one can imagine this
particular Sieglinde standing up to her brutish husband.
With a career, as detailed in the booklet biography, dominated in recent years by Turandots, Ms.
Stottler seems to be relying on the heft of her voice. That’s not a dismissible quality, but one
hopes that in working with a solid director, she can provide more illumination of the text than
can be discerned in this recital.
Texts are provided in German and English.