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Audrey Stottler Sings Wagner
09 May 2007

Audrey Stottler Sings Wagner

Audrey Stottler’s Wagner recital provides ample evidence of a voice with the range and heft for the challenging roles of Brünnhilde and Isolde, as well as Sieglinde, a role often sung by a vocalist with less firepower.

Audrey Stottler Sings Wagner

Audrey Stottler, soprano, Academic Symphony Orchestra St. Petersburg, Arkady Steinlucht (cond.)

Romeo Records 7250 [CD]

$15.99  Click to buy

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.

Chris Mullins

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