Wagner und Strauss: Arien
Adrianne Pieczonka – Bayreuth's new Sieglinde
Ever since her sensational appearances as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Vienna State Opera in 1997 and, two years later, as Elsa in Wagner’s Lohengrin at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka has been in constant demand in all the world’s major opera houses. Audiences at New York’s Metropolitan Opera were able to hear her as Sieglinde in Die Walküre in 2004, and visitors to this summer’s Bayreuth Festival can now look forward to hearing her repeat this role under Christian Thielemann’s direction.
ORFEO International is now releasing a recital by Adrianne Pieczonka in a co-production with Bavarian Radio. Accompanied by the Munich Radio Orchestra under its principal conductor designate, Ulf Schirmer, it provides impressive evidence of her present pre-eminence as a lyric and jugendlich-dramatisch soprano. Like the great Wagner and Strauss singers of the past, Adrianne Pieczonka has perfect breath control, allowing her to produce a flawless line and to cultivate a seamless legato. Her interest in the lieder repertory is clear not only from Wagner’s Wesendonk Lieder but also from the fundamental clarity and intelligibility of her diction throughout the whole of the present CD. Above all, opera lovers will be delighted to hear how Adrianne Pieczonka’s voice blossoms and acquires a thrilling, ecstatic radiance at the top of her register, most notably in Elisabeth’s „Greeting to the Hall of Song“ in Tannhäuser, Sieglinde’s Narration from Act One of Die Walküre and Arabella’s final monologue from Strauss’s opera of the same name. And they will be grateful to note how fresh her voice still sounds even after nearly two decades of appearances in often heavy roles. This freshness is the result, once again, of the fact that she has planned her career astutely and carefully: she refuses to limit herself exclusively to the German repertory.
Her schedule for the coming months includes not only Sieglinde in Bayreuth but also the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier and Lisa in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, both of these last-named roles at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro under Kent Nagano at the Los Angeles Opera. All of these roles reflect the range of Adrianne Pieczonka’s repertory, while suggesting areas into which she may move not only in the opera house but also, one hopes, on record.