The Dutch soprano Gré Brouwenstijn has long been held in the highest esteem within her own country, and within a circle of vocal connoisseurs, for the fearless vibrancy of her approach to the great hochdramatisch soprano roles, without ever compromising the standards and ideals of vocal beauty: hers is a voice of great strength and flexibility, fully able to meet the challenge of projecting both the scale and drama of Wagner’s heroines while also inhabiting their more intimate confessions.
Brouwenstijn made precious few recordings – most of what is left to us now derives from private tapes or radio archives of live performances – but this compilation of two studio sessions (from 1954 and 1956) catches her in her vocal prime. The big numbers from Wagner’s early dramas (Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Der fliegende Holländer) are included, as well as Wagner’s own leaping-off points in Beethoven (‘Ah, perfido!’) and Weber (Der Freischütz). To finish, there’s a selection of mature Verdi, including ‘Tu che la vanità’ (Don Carlo) and ‘Pace, pace, mio Dio!’ (La forza del destino). This is an unmissable release for anyone in love with the art of the soprano voice.
Includes appreciation of Brouwenstijn by the writer and opera director Mike Ashman.
Ludwig von Beethoven Ah perfido, Op 65
Carl Maria von weber Der Freisch tz Wie nahte mir der Schlummer
Richard Wagner Tannh user Dich teure Halle
Richard Wagner Tannh user Alm cht'ge Jungfrau
Richard Wagner Lohengrin Einsam in tr ben Tagen
Richard Wagner Der fliegende Holl nder Johohoe! Traft ihr das Schiff
Giuseppe Verdi Don Carlo Tu che la vanit
Giuseppe Verdi Il Trovatore Timor di me?....D'amor Sull'ali rosee
Giuseppe Verdi La forza del destino Son giunta, grazie, o Dio!...Madre pietosa Vergine
Giuseppe Verdi La forza del destino Pace, pace mio Dio
“One of the great vocal artists of the 1950s and 1960s, Brouwenstijn didn't have a great voice, but was passionate, intense and equally convincing in Wagner and Verdi.”
“Vibrant in 'Dich teure Halle', with a quick flicker in the voice, she presents an imaginative, inward 'Allmächt'ge Jungfrau'...She is also sensitive in the first part of 'Einsam in trüben Tagen'...and then nicely introduces a fuller tone as the aria proceeds. She injects passion into the two arias from La Forza del destino.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.