Title: Lauritz Melchior: The Art of the Heldentenor
in Opera and Song - Vols.
Those of us in the minority vocal art forms such as opera, oratorio, and recital know, for example, that a Verdi soprano and a Mozart soprano are defined by both voice and temperament, and that a Heldentenor
voice without courage and endurance is not a Heldentenor
The Siegfried whom Ludlam imagines, and Lamb portrays, is what a susceptible gay opera goer watching Wagner's opera might be thinking as he sees a beefy heldentenor
sing the role.
When I was a teenager, I heard Bruce Dickinson, and he sounded like a Heldentenor
. When I sang in my band, White Blitz, we covered some of this group's material.
In addition to creating a believable antihero, Robert Brubaker sings with a ringing heldentenor
that could grace many a Wagnerian epic.
Patricia Racette delivers a heartfelt performance of "Leaving on a Jet Plane," although one wonders whose idea it was to rewrite the notes of the refrain at the words "don't know when I'll be back again." Powerhouse Heldentenor
Stuart Skelton, a highly regarded Siegmund and Peter Grimes, sounds unexpectedly comfortable and easygoing with "Fly Away," although the anemic singing of Barbara Padilla (well known from TV's America's Got Talent) adds little of value.
Anne Sofie von Otter channelled a mix of Cruella de Vil and Mary Portas as Begbick, while Kurt Streit gave lowlife messiah Jimmy McIntyre the full heldentenor
While only bass Stephen Milling and veteran heldentenor
Poul Elming are well known on the international scene, the cast is superb, musically and dramatically, but pride of place must go to baritone Johan Reuter, who nearly steals the show as the Figaro-like valet Henrik.
He did not sing in the performance I attended, the role being taken creditably by the Canadian Ben Heppner, who is a slowly emerging Heldentenor
with a tendency to be less expressive and various than his excellent voice would otherwise allow.
Paul, and was sung superbly by the Danish Heldentenor
Stig Andersen, is an arrogant prince of the church, an ascetic and an ardent lover of the arts.
Nienstedt fashions a commanding Orest, while Uhl, a largely forgotten Wagner heldentenor
of the '50s and '60s, is luxury casting for the sniveling Aegisth.