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Ben Heppner Sings Wagner

Notes & Reviews:

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...

Gramophone Magazine
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.

International Record Review
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 "WSlse!" are as brilliant as his "Winterstnrme" 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.

John W. Freeman, Opera News
This is work of a resourceful, imaginative artist...


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