Classical CD-Review
This Wagner DVD offers a concert the eve of the composer's bicentennial (May 21, 2013) to commemorate the Staatskapelle Dresden's long commitment to Wagner's music. Their principal conductor, Christian Thielemann, directed and the soloist was tenor Jonas Kaufmann. It is a wonderful concert in every way offering arias and scenes from three operas (Rienzi, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser) sing with consummate artistry by the remarkable tenor—it is unfortunate he wasn't singing Siegfried in the La Scala Ring.. We also have orchestral works listed above and, as always with Thielemann, there is impeccable attention to detail. The orchestra is magnificent, camera work could not be bettered, and audio completely captures Wagner's rich orchestration. Hans Werner Henze (1926-2012) has the title of Capell-Comositeur of the Dresden Staatskapelle. The distinguished composer always enjoyed a close association with the orchestra and planned to write a work called Isolde's Tod for the bicentennal concert, but did not complete it. In its place, Thielemann chose Fraternité, a 12-minute work that, to me seems to have little to do with Wagner; the audience listened politely, but I imagine they would have preferred more Wagner. Overall, the audience was mesmerized, and rightfully so. Kaufmann leapt to the conductor's podium for his bows, as always a showman. A splendid issue for the Wagner Bicentennial.

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