If others are suffering too, Chris’s Cache offers four favorite sopranos in possibly unexpected or unheard Wagner roles: Edda Moser as Senta; Gabriela Benacková as Elisabeth; Ursula Schröder-Feinen as Isolde; and Sena Jurinac as Eva.

After the 1970s, Moser’s career became more erratic as she ventured into new roles, including Salome. I’m unsure if her Wagner forays after her early Rhinemaidens went beyond Senta, but she did record the Immolation Scene and the Liebestod.

Benacková was announced for Elsa at one point, but that never came to pass, and I don’t believe she sang Elisabeth very often. Today’s recording captures the second of just two she performed at the Vienna Staatsoper. Senta proved to be her major Wagner role, perhaps unexpected given her generally placid stage presence.

Schröder-Feinen’s sadly truncated career didn’t include as many Wagner operas as it might have. There are broadcasts of her Sieglinde, Kundry, Ortrud and Siegfried Brünnhilde, the latter two from Bayreuth. She was, I believe, announced for Brünnhilde in a Ring planned by the Paris Opéra conducted by Georg Solti, but only the Walküre happened—without her. In addition to today’s rare Isolde, a local Siegfried Brünnhilde can be heard here.

Jurinac’s limited US appearances were principally centered in San Francisco where her 1971 Rosenkavalier and 1980 Jenufa are probably well known to broadcast collectors. Unfortunately, no recordings exist of her debut SF season in 1959 which included Donna Anna, Butterfly, the Komponist (with Eileen Farrell and Rita Streich!) and Eva. How this early Meistersinger from Naples came down to us is a mystery but we’re very lucky to have it.

Wagner: Der Fliegende Holländer

Senta: Edda Moser
Mary: Ruth Hesse
Der Holländer: Robert Hale
Daland: Bengt Rundgren
Erik: John David De Haan
Steuermann: Uwe Peper

Conductor: Heinrich Hollreiser
Deutsche Oper Berlin
15 January 1993
In-house recording

Wagner: Tannhäuser

Elisabeth: Gabriela Benacková
Venus: Uta Priew
Ein junger Hirt: Ulrike Sonntag
Tannhäuser: Toni Krämer
Wolfram von Eschenbach: Bo Skovhus
Landgraf Hermann: Kurt Moll
Walther von der Vogelweide: Richard Brunner
Biterolf: Monte Pederson
Reinmar von Zweter: Goran Simic
Heinrich der Schreiber: Benedikt Kobel

Conductor: Berislav Klobucar
Wiener Staatsoper
24 June 1992
In-house recording

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

Isolde: Ursula Schröder-Feinen
Brangäne: Clemntine Voorwelt
Tristan: Gerd Brenneisaf
Kurwenal: Anthony Raffell
Marke: Andrzej Saciuk
Ein Junger Seemann: Julio Julian

Conductor: Lljubumir Romanowsky
Opernhaus Gelsenkirchen
In-house recording (cuts out just a few seconds before the end)

Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Eva: Sena Jurinac
Magdalene: Hetty Plümacher
Walther von Stolzing: Bernd Aldenhoff
David: Gerhard Unger
Hans Sachs: Otto Wiener
Beckmesser: Benno Kusche
Pogner: Otto von Rohr
Vogelsang: Erich Majkut
Nachtigall: Hans Herbert Fiedler
Kothner: Willy Ferenz
Zorn: Renato Ercolani
Eislinger: Georg Walter
Moser: Mariano Caruso
Ortel: Leo Pudis
Schwarz: Odo Ruepp
Foltz: Dimitri Krylov
Nachtwächter: Hans Herbert Fiedler

Conductor: Fritz Rieger
Teatro San Carlo, Napoli
12 January 1957
Broadcast/in-house recording?

Each Wagner opera can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.