I had originally planned this broadcast for later during this Bayreuth-less summer but interest in Varady after the recent stream of her 1978 Donna Elvira—the only role she sang in the US, first at San Francisco Opera then the Met—prompted me to push it forward.
I don’t own Solti’s commercial Lohengrin recording with Jessye Norman and Placido Domingo but I suspect it may have been done around the time of this Stuttgart concert partly because they share both Randová and Sotin. Solti also seems not to have often conducted this opera; this is the only live performance that I’ve been able to locate.
For some reason, this Stuttgart Lohengrin proved to be Varady’s only encounter with Elsa. Eleven years later though she did record the Bridal Chamber duet with Peter Seiffert for a disk I like very much that also includes scenes from Tannhauser and Die Walküre conducted by her husband, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He also led her other important Wagner recording which features an impressive Immolation Scene, the Liebestod and the Wesendonck Lieder.
Senta and Sieglinde were her primary Wagner stage roles though she did sing Eva opposite hubby but I don’t believe she performed it very often.
Her solo Wagner recital is just one of a wonderful series on the Orfeo label devoted to arias by a single composer. She also sang Puccini, Tchaikovsky and two volumes of Verdi.
As much as I love and admire Tristan und Isolde and Götterdämmerung, my two other favorites, I would say that when I feel the need to indulge in hours of Wagner, I put on Lohengrin. I really miss it, not having heard it live since the Met last performed it in 2006!
12 September 1985
Elsa — Julia Varady
Ortrud — Eva Randová
Lohengrin — Siegfried Jerusalem
Telramund — Hermann Becht
König Heinrich — Hans Sotin
Heerrufer — Wolfgang Schöne
Conductor — Georg Solti
Lohengrin can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a square with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.
On previous Trove Thursday editions Varady can be heard as Cio-Cio-San, the Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos and as Giunia in Johann Christian Bach’s version of Lucio Silla.
In addition, nearly 300 other podcast tracks are always available from Apple Podcasts and iTunes for free, or via any RSS reader.
The archive listing every “Trove Thursday” offering since September 2015 in alphabetical order by composer was updated recently.