Träume – Introduction by Jenufa Gleich

Wagner is a controversial figure. As the granddaughter of holocaust survivors, some may struggle with my collaboration. I believe that Wagner’s compositions transcend borders, governments, religions and ideologies, time and space.

Wagner the man had his flaws and his darkness within the environment in which he lived, but he was also capable of channelling something ethereal and heavenly through his art. His music brings us through the darkness and into the light, a light which we hope to share with you in this recording.

I trained in the Italian tradition of Bel Canto, an era that influenced Wagner greatly. This is strongly reflected in his early compositions, especially in Die Feen, where you can hear his admiration for the florid, flexible style of singing. There are also distinct moments of it in Brünnhilde’s intimate passages in Siegfried, as well as in Tannhäuser and other later works. For me, that is an element of Wagner that is often overlooked today and something we endeavoured to explore.

My introduction to Wagner came in the Ring Cycle, singing Helmwige in Die Walküre and later the Third Norn in Götterdämmerung, which I had the privilege of recording with conductor Jaap Van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic (Naxos). This is my second recording of Wagner, and it was a great pleasure to collaborate with conductor Fabrice Bollon, whose sensitivity and depth guided us through this lyrical exploration of Wagner’s work. Thank you, Maestro.

I would like to include a special note of thanks to the wonderful BBC National Orchestra of Wales who brought their joy and talents every day, and to Phil Rowlands and his production team for their expert ears, knowledge and good energy.

Thanks also to my coaches David Aronson, Thomas Schmieger and Aldert Vermeulen for always guiding me to be the best that I can be. Martine Straesser, your encouragement every second of every recording day kept me healthy, nurtured and happy.

Leo Krischke at Opera4u management, thank you so much for taking care of all the logistics and the things a singer doesn’t like to deal with! Thanks too to BBC Management for your smiles and support every day, and to Mark Stone at Stone Records, a singer and CEO of this indie label who knows what it takes to do this. Special thanks to my parents and my husband who have supported me through the trials and tribulations of being an opera singer.

I’m grateful to my departed beloved teacher, Maria Farnworth, who taught me how to sing and how to live. This recording is dedicated to her.

Jenufa Gleich