First released on DVD, this live recording of a 2019 centenary production of Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten from the Vienna State Opera is a must-have. The orchestra under Christian Thielemann are simply tremendous – sumptuous, intense, and tinged with a dark glamour so right for this twisted fairy-tale. Climaxes are expertly built and controlled, the winds are surpassingly delicate when required, and the strings bounce from achingly tender to manically driven.

His assembled cast are similarly distinguished, beginning with the royal couple themselves. Stephen Gould’s rock-solid Heldentenor does true justice to the role’s sometimes freakish vocal demands, dispatching the many high notes with an exciting abandon, and there’s a sweet duskiness to his voice that lends him further gravitas. As the Empress, Camilla Nylund’s silvery lyric soprano navigates Strauss’ difficult writing with equal facility, perfectly charting the character’s journey from vulnerable woman to determined heroine. Her voice has lost none of its crystalline, pure quality.

As the Dyer’s Wife, Nina Stemme is a powerhouse presence, dominating her scenes and singing with a compelling assertiveness that makes her the ideal,...

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