Transfiguration
Richard WAGNER (1813 -1883)
Einsam in trŁben Tagen (Lohengrin) [5.49]
Dich teure Halle (Tannhäuser) [4.54]
Allmächtíge Jungfrau (Tannhäuser) [5.27]
Der Männer Sippe (Die WalkŁre) [4.51]
Mild unleise (Tristan und Isolde) [6.15]
Richard STRAUSS (1864 -1949)
Mein Elemer (Arabella) [9.02]
O bleib, geliebter Tag! (Daphne) [9.35]
Es gibt ein Reich (Ariadne auf Naxos) [6.09]
Es is kein Laut zue vernehmen (Salome) [19.54]
Camilla Nylund (soprano)
Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra/Hannu Lintu
rec. Tampere Hall, Finland, 16-19 September 2010
ONDINE ODE 1168-2 [73.21]

For the jugend dramatisch soprano the route from Strauss and the smaller Wagner roles, through to helden territory is pretty well mapped. On this disc the young Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund combines Strauss extracts which she has sung with Wagner roles which she is either approaching or has in her sights for the future. Elsa is something which she has on the horizon whereas Isolde is only a distant possibility. In contrast Strauss roles like Daphne and Arabella are currently central to her repertoire.

Typically such sopranos have a bright, sometimes light voice but one which has a degree of heft which can give hints of what is to come. Nylund has a pleasantly attractive lyric voice with a warm vibrato and I can imagine that on stage her Strauss heroines would be rather appealing. Without having heard her live I would have judged that she has an ideal voice for Arabella.

The heavier roles do not seem an entirely obvious move. As portrayed here Elisabeth and Eva lack the bright declamation which is necessary. Part of the problem is the way that the recording has caught Nylundís voice. She has been quite closely recorded and her vibrato is too prominent, to the detriment of the core of her voice. This is where the record reviewer is at a disadvantage, without knowing Nylundís voice live I cannot tell if my impressions relate to her voice or to the way it was captured on disc.

Just listening to the disc, I did not feel that Nylund had the Wagner roles properly under her belt. I kept coming back to the idea that the balance with the orchestra had been weighted towards the soprano. If you listen to Christine Brewer in similar repertoire on her Opera in English recitals for Chandos, there is a far greater feeling of a high, bright voice with some heft, capable of projecting over the orchestra with ease. Because projection is not an issue, other details can come to the fore in a way that Nylund fails to accomplish. Brewerís energies go into projecting characters whereas Nylund has to put her energy into projecting her voice; her German is quite decent but she simply does not make enough of it. I am not certain that we can really tell her Elsa from her Elisabeth.

If we come back to Nylundís voice, there I have to confess that the person she reminded me of most was Felicity Lott. They both have that same bright lyric warmth and an attractive vibrato. As such, even Salome seems a bit of a stretch: the voice does not broaden out and deepen under pressure in the way that I would like. The closing moments lack the radiant intensity that others bring to the role. This is a very young-sounding Salome, but one whose climaxes donít really bloom.

Rather surprisingly she says that Salome is currently her favourite stage role, which rather makes me wonder again about the way the recording has captured her voice.

As Straussís Arabella, Daphne and Ariadne, Nylund is be closer to home ground. There is a greater degree of engagement with the words, though still the emotions appear be rather general. If you listen to Felicity Lott in any of this repertoire, she is a paragon who gives a clear idea of what I mean; Lott has such a degree of engagement with the text it almost amounts to identification. Strauss writes attractively melodic music, but it needs to be approached from the inside, from the words to make it really tell as drama.

Drama is what I donít yet hear in these recordings - that engagement with character and expression. That will come, I am sure.

In the booklet Nylund comments that she would have like to have included more of her central Strauss roles, but this would have meant missing out the Wagner. I canít help feeling that we would have had a stronger disc if she had done this.

The singer is nicely accompanied by Hannu Lintu and the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra who have a fine, slim-line tone, but one which still encompasses the considerable breadth of this music. The booklet includes full texts and translations.

This is a disc for those interested in following up-and-coming singers and seeing how they shape up. It is a promising recital rather than a great one, a calling-card which only hints at what the singer might really be able to do.

Robert Hugill

A promising recital rather than a great one.

recital rather than a great one.