Those impatient for Lise Davidsen to tackle Wagner’s hochdramatischer soprano heroines will get a brief preview on February 1st when she performs the composer’s Fünf Gedichte für eine Frauenstimme with the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

Chris’s Cache previews her concert with six sopranos—Berit Lindholm, Jessye Norman, Hildegard Behrens, Margaret Price, Gabriela Benackova, and Dorothea Röschmann—singing the five Wesendonck Lieder using Felix Mottl’s 1893 orchestration, plus a tenor interloper (Jonas Kaufmann, of course), as well as Hanna Schwarz performing them in Hans Werner Henze’s alternate orchestration.

But before Davidsen’s concert, Michael Spyres will join Kaufmann and other tenors performing the Wesendonck in a Berlioz/Wagner program being streamed this Friday on from Strasbourg.

Though “Traume” was often included in Met concerts from 1896-1908, all five songs have been performed three times previously by Met forces: Davidsen was preceded at Carnegie Hall by Jessye Norman and Michelle DeYoung, along with a MET Orchestra appearance in Frankfurt with Waltraud Meier.

Lindholm, who died five months ago, collaborated with Leopold Stokowski in her US debut in 1969, the year before one of the very earliest of all Norman recorded performances—she was just 24. Behrens’s live Wesendonck predates her undertaking the heavier Wagner heroines, while Price, celebrated for her Tristan und Isolde studio recording under Carlos Kleiber, never performed a Wagner opera on stage.

By the 2004 Wesendonck, Benacková had mostly curtailed her operatic career which included Senta and Elisabeth. Röschmann may have surprised many by performing Isolde recently on stage in Nancy, though perhaps it may prove a one-time adventure like her previous encounters with Elsa and Elisabeth in Berlin. Tove in Gurrelieder under Simon Rattle was briefly announced for Carnegie Hall this spring, but it quickly vanished from the schedule.

Wagner: Fünf Gedichte für eine Frauenstimme

Berit Lindholm
American Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Leopold Stokowski

Carnegie Hall
7 December 1969

Jessye Norman
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Conductor: Claus Rößner

15 May 1970

Hildegard Behrens
Orchestra National de l’Opéra de Monte Carlo
Conductor: Lovro von Matacic

Opéra Monte Carlo
5 April 1979
In-house recording

Margaret Price
Orchestre National de France
Conductor: Georges Prêtre

Saint-Denis Basilica
27 June 1995

Gabriela Benacková
Janáckova filharmonie Ostrava
Conductor: Libor Pešek

11 June 2004

Dorothea Röschmann
Orchestre de Paris
Conductor: Karina Canellakis

Philharmonie de Paris
4 September 2019

Jonas Kaufmann
London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Antonio Pappano

Barbican Centre
8 February 2017
In-house recording

Hanna Schwarz
(Orchestration: Hans Werner Henze)
ORF Symphonieorchester
Conductor: Dennis Russel Davies

Salzburg Festival
20 August 1996

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

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