Ben Heppner sings Wagner

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WAGNER
Ben Heppner sings Wagner
Ben Heppner (tenor) / Staatskapelle Dresden, Peter Schneider

[ Deutsche Grammophon SBS Eloquence / CD ]

Release Date: Sunday 1 September 2013

Ben Heppner - recognized and one of the world's leading Heldentenors - features a selection of the finest excerpts for tenor voice from Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Tracing the life of Wagner's ultimate hero Siegfried from his father Siegmund (Die Walküre) to Siegfried's youth (Siegfried) and death (Götterdämmerung), the album features famous excerpts including "Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond" and "Notung! Notung! Neidliches Schwert", as well as orchestral excerpts such as Siegfried's Funeral March. Supported by the excellent Staatskapelle Dresden and accomplished Wagner expert Peter Schneider, a regular guest conductor at the Bayreuth festival since the early 1980s with more than 100 conducted performances, Ben Heppner's approach to Siegfried's life is a supreme musical experience for every Wagner lover.

"… over the last 15 years, certain Wagner roles have been the "property" of Ben Heppner - of all things, a Wagner tenor who, in addition to the requisite power, has what might be called a "conventionally beautiful" voice which he actually uses with some discretion and imagination… It's a wonderful piece of singing…" (Fanfare)

"Ben Heppner is not scheduled to make his debut as Wagner's dwarf-beating, anvil-busting hero until 2008 (Aix, under Sir Simon Rattle) so the present disc will have to suffice as a rain check. It does so because the Canadian tenor (whom we never seem to see in the UK) is in prime vocal form and… is in constant search of original, unhackneyed line readings" (Gramophone)

"He seems to have everything - power, stamina, a bright, truly tenorial timbre… and he has grown up vocally, through Walther and Lohengrin into Tristan, at an intelligent pace, while mixing in some Italian roles to keep the voice supple. Now, on this recital, he tackles Siegfried and Siegmund, from what we hear, he's more than ready for them and Wagnerians should be waiting in line… His combination of lyricism and sheer power are unique today: his cries of "Wälse!" are as brilliant as his "Winterstürme" is caressing and tender. He also never resorts to crooning soft moments; what we hear is a true range of dynamics, in real voice. Here and throughout his diction is impeccable and the forward placement of his voice brings real urgency to his exclamation. On to Siegfried. Not enough praise can be lavished on his Forging Song. I, certainly, have never heard it sung as effortlessly, energetically, expressively, fearlessly, and with such true boyish joy before. He attacks the music and text heroically - this Siegfried seems indomitable - and his tone never falters: it's always big and bright… The "Forest Murmurs" shows us an entirely different side of Siegfried, tender and pensive, and Heppner delivers the solo to us with beautiful tone, enraptured… Heppner's amazement is palpable, and he phrases each mood-change and new sensation with great freshness of tone… Overall, the Staatskapelle Dresden plays with lustre and rhythmic thrust. This is a stunning CD, sure to delight and tease Wagnerians. It gets the highest recommendation." (International Record Review)

Tracks:

Ein Schwert verhieß mir der Vater (from Die Walküre)
Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond (from Die Walküre)
Siegmund heiß ich und Siegmund bin ich! (from Die Walküre)
Nothung! Nothung! Neidliches Schwert! (from Siegfried)
Hoho! Hoho! Hohei! Schmiede, mein Hammer, ein hartes Schwert! (from Siegfried)
with Burkhard Ulrich (tenor)
Dass der mein Vater nicht ist (from Siegfried)
Noch einmal, liebes Vögelein (from Siegfried)
Selige Öde auf wonniger Höh!...Das ist kein Mann (from Siegfried)
Götterdämmerung: Siegfried's Rhine Journey
Brünnhilde, heilige Braut! (from Götterdammerung)
Götterdämmerung: Siegfried's Funeral March