WAGNER: Dich, teure Halle from Tannhäuser. Du bist der Lenz/Der Männer Sippe from Die Walküre. Weh', ach wehe dies zu dulden/Mild und leise from Tristan und Isolde. STRAUSS: Ich kann nicht sitzen from Elektra. Es gibt ein Reich from Ariadne auf Naxos. Ist mein liebster dahin and Wehe mein Mann from Die Frau ohne Schatten. Es ist kein laut zu vernehmen from Salome.
Deborah Voight, soprano; Natascha Petrinsky, mezzo-soprano; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orch/Sir Richard Armstrong, cond.
EMI CLASSICS 57681 (F) (DDD) TT: 68:32

The many fans of soprano Deborah Voight have been waiting for a solo CD and here it is, the first under her new contract for "solo recordings" with EMI (recital and "pop" recordings are in the future). This CD, all Wagner and Strauss, is called Obsessions, capturing "the powerful, often tortured, emotional territory traversed by the heroines in this repertoire: a tapestry of madness, fury, jealousy, revenge and transcendal love." Actually Voight already has recorded all of this Strauss except Salome in complete recordings conducted by the late Giuseppe Sinopli (Ariadne auf Naxos, Elektra and Friedestag for DGG, Frau ohne Schatten for Teldec).

This surely is an impressive, if somewhat disturbing, CD. It's impressive in the sheer power and thrust—and accuracy—Voight brings to this challenging repertory. Disturbing is the fact that in all of these performances, which were recorded in Herkulesaal in Munich September 22-26, 2003, the soprano has a marked unevenness of vocal production, a rather wide constant vibrato no matter the range or what she is singing. This seems more pronounced than on any of her previous recordings. Voight is most successful in the Ariadne excerpt, a role in today's operatic world she has virtually made her own. Chrysothemis is another role well suited to her. The Tristan excerpts are a preview of her four performances of the opera in May 2004 in Vienna; I'm sure Viennese audiences will not be disappointed. The Salome finale begins as Salome hovers over the cystern awairing her prize. Natascha Petrinsky is an excellent foil in the excerpt from Tristan and her four words in Elektra. Recently knighted Richard Armstrong, music director of the Scottish Opera since 1993, offers fine accompaniments and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra plays well and recorded sound is excellent. Complete texts and English translations are included.

R.E.B. (March 2004)