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This live recording of Pfitzner’s masterpiece is excellently recorded (Frankfurt Opera, June 2010), and rewards detailed listening. The composer certainly gives the orchestra a thorough workout, and Kirill Petrenko’s conducting is masterful: the incredibly detailed score is finely delineated, and at the same time he builds the massive scale of the piece with a great sense of pace and architecture. The singers are also admirable – Peter Bronder’s strong tenor has the edge of vulnerability the central character requires, and Wolfgang Koch’s fine baritone rolls magnificently through Borromeo’s music; in fact Frankfurt’s enviable home-grown stable of singers means some pretty luxurious casting. If you’re interested in Pfitzner I strongly recommend the recording; but for some it will remain a curate’s egg. The music is often stunning, but this long opera sometimes feels like a play with symphonic music attached rather than a truly melded piece. For the post-Romantic connoisseur.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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