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Who is your favorite Wotan?

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Can you give an example of where you hear the complexity of Wotan's emotions expressed by Hotter, how his voice expresses them. As I said, I've never had this experience of his singing and I would like to understand where others get it from.
For Wotans with complete records, probably Frantz is my favorite. I don't care for Hotter after the mid-1940s, to be honest. He was very good in the 1938 recording, but was never my favorite. By the 1950s his sound is often labored. To be honest, I do not hear hardly any of the "Shakespearean" characterization I often see him credited with (without details given). Instead, I hear a singer struggling to produce a steady sound. That leaves little room for characterization.
use same example as above of Wotans farewell (walkure), Reinmar is beautifully sung and technically great but lacks the passion and and torment of Hotter, you hear a "strained labored" voice for HH and I hear an artist wonderfully expressive, there is remorse, sorrow, defiance in his voice

 

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Same, his performance here is magnificent! That is my absolute favorite recording of Wotan's farewell. No cloudiness or veiled tone, ringing high notes, clear diction, and sensitive use of registration. Great singing pure and simple!

Others who left great partial recordings include Hans Hermann Nissen, a famous Wotan in his day:

Joel Berglund

and Rudolf Bockelmann:

I don't think he ever sang it live, but what a Wotan we missed out on in Mark Reizen (also interesting to hear it sung in Russian):

For Wotans with complete records, probably Frantz is my favorite. I don't care for Hotter after the mid-1940s, to be honest. He was very good in the 1938 recording, but was never my favorite. By the 1950s his sound is often labored. To be honest, I do not hear hardly any of the "Shakespearean" characterization I often see him credited with (without details given). Instead, I hear a singer struggling to produce a steady sound. That leaves little room for characterization.
I find Frantz on the Furtwängler studio recording haunting in Act II. But less satisfying in Act III.
 

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use same example as above of Wotans farewell (walkure), Reinmar is beautifully sung and technically great but lacks the passion and and torment of Hotter, you hear a "strained labored" voice for HH and I hear an artist wonderfully expressive, there is remorse, sorrow, defiance in his voice

Ahh, yes!! Hotter's Der augen leuchtendes paar is as devastated as it gets. At least I've yet to hear someone sing it more movingly than Hotter. I've quoted this elsewhere as well but Hotter wrote that Bruno Walter's advice formed the foundation of his interpretation of Wotan and he said that all the years throughout his long career he always followed Walter's advice he gave him when he was to sing Wotan's Farewell for the first time in public: "Throughout these twenty minutes, you should be constantly close to tears - not in reality but in your artistic imagination." I think you can hear this from Hotter's singing.
 

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use same example as above of Wotans farewell (walkure), Reinmar is beautifully sung and technically great but lacks the passion and and torment of Hotter, you hear a "strained labored" voice for HH and I hear an artist wonderfully expressive, there is remorse, sorrow, defiance in his voice

Ahh, yes!! Hotter's Der augen leuchtendes paar is as devastated as it gets. At least I've yet to hear someone sing it more movingly than Hotter. I've quoted this elsewhere as well but Hotter wrote that Bruno Walter's advice formed the foundation of his interpretation of Wotan and he said that all the years throughout his long career he always followed Walter's advice he gave him when he was to sing Wotan's Farewell for the first time in public: "Throughout these twenty minutes, you should be constantly close to tears - not in reality but in your artistic imagination." I think you can hear this from Hotter's singing.
Interesting. I find Reinmar much more expressive. I think he has a somewhat different interpretation of the scene, but I find the way he modulates between declamatory and highly legato singing and chest dominant and head dominant tone to be very moving. For example, the "Der Augen leuchtendes paar" section is well contrasted with the opening. Reinmar makes the tone pure and heady, and diminuendos during the phrases, which are sung with superb legato. 4:52-5:05 in the Reinmar performance sounds as close to tears as any signing I've heard. The overall effect is a profound but staid sadness, for me anyway.
 

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Interesting. I find Reinmar much more expressive. I think he has a somewhat different interpretation of the scene, but I find the way he modulates between declamatory and highly legato singing and chest dominant and head dominant tone to be very moving. For example, the "Der Augen leuchtendes paar" section is well contrasted with the opening. Reinmar makes the tone pure and heady, and diminuendos during the phrases, which are sung with superb legato. 4:52-5:05 in the Reinmar performance sounds as close to tears as any signing I've heard. The overall effect is a profound but staid sadness, for me anyway.
I completely agree with what you say. I was just listening to this performance and you can really feel Wotan/Reimar's pain in the "Der Augen leuchtendes paar". And the legato is absolutely amazing! And one can also feel Hotter's pain, but I think it is partially obstructed by the nasality of his voice. By the way, I do not believe Hotter's prime was during the 50s. Just listen to him singing Wotan's farewell in 1942:


His voice is more clear and not nasal. Even better, there is no wobble. A great performance, even though I still prefer Reinmar!
 

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I don't know if he ever sang the role on stage, but Alexander Kipnis made a fantastic recording of the Farewell:
I do like this performance because for me Kipnis does have a more overtly emotional delivery, WK is correct he did not perform Wotan for any MET performance (archive search) but instead was the go to Hundig during 1940s MET wagner performances, also King Marke (tristan) and a few Gurnemanz (parsifal) he has a noticeably darker tone than Hotter.......

On the strength of this performance MET management should have given him a few Wotan roles and find another Hundig
 

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I completely agree with what you say. I was just listening to this performance and you can really feel Wotan/Reimar's pain in the "Der Augen leuchtendes paar". And the legato is absolutely amazing! And one can also feel Hotter's pain, but I think it is partially obstructed by the nasality of his voice. By the way, I do not believe Hotter's prime was during the 50s. Just listen to him singing Wotan's farewell in 1942:


His voice is more clear and not nasal. Even better, there is no wobble. A great performance, even though I still prefer Reinmar!
Hotter is definitely in fresher cleaner voice in 1942 wonderful performance, but stylistically still the same for me as his 1950s bayreuth, and I still find slightly more emotional expression in that 56 live bayreuth performance perhaps because of bayreuth festival setting even though he will soon retire the role and sounds more labored vs 1942 :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
I completely agree with what you say. I was just listening to this performance and you can really feel Wotan/Reimar's pain in the "Der Augen leuchtendes paar". And the legato is absolutely amazing! And one can also feel Hotter's pain, but I think it is partially obstructed by the nasality of his voice. By the way, I do not believe Hotter's prime was during the 50s. Just listen to him singing Wotan's farewell in 1942:


His voice is more clear and not nasal. Even better, there is no wobble. A great performance, even though I still prefer Reinmar!
This is very interesting, but I still prefer his later, richer voice from the 1950s.

Hotter is definitely in fresher cleaner voice in 1942 wonderful performance, but stylistically still the same for me as his 1950s bayreuth, and I still find slightly more emotional expression in that 56 live bayreuth performance perhaps because of bayreuth festival setting even though he will soon retire the role and sounds more labored vs 1942
Yes, I find this 1942 performance less emotionally inspired than the performances he did later.
 

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I do like this performance because for me Kipnis does have a more overtly emotional delivery, WK is correct he did not perform Wotan for any MET performance (archive search) but instead was the go to Hundig during 1940s MET wagner performances, also King Marke (tristan) and a few Gurnemanz (parsifal) he has a noticeably darker tone than Hotter.......

On the strength of this performance MET management should have given him a few Wotan roles and find another Hundig (Melchior won't mind right?)
Back in those days did the Met tend to choose one Wotan for all 3 or did they mix and match? I ask because I think there's probably no way Kipnis could sing the Wanderer. Maybe he could sing Walkure, but that gets quite high for a bass too...
 

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^^^ The few MET complete Rings done in 1940s (archives) seemed to most often use different singer for Wotan and Wanderer, Schorr very early 1940s then Janssen, Huen, Berglund got most performances......most Ring operas just done individually back then

Melchior was go to Siegfried and Siegmund for Ring operas.....
 

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^^^ The few MET complete Rings done in 1940s (archives) seemed to most often use different singer for Wotan and Wanderer, Schorr very early 1940s then Janssen, Huen, Berglund got most performances......most Ring operas just done individually back then

Melchior was go to Siegfried and Siegmund for Ring operas.....
That's really interesting. I think I'm going to have to take a dive into these archives too!
 

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In more modern times, they use a younger singer for Das Rheingold. I suppose the tessitura is higher in Die Walküre, lower in Siegfried. the Wanderer being an older, tired man.

When San Francisco Opera did the Ring Cycle in the 1980s, James Morris sang Wotan in all three operas. Terry McEwen talked him into singing it for his first Ring Cycle. His sonorous, mahogany-colored, rolling voice was magnificent, and he dominated the scenes he was in, like a Wotan should. His Brünhildes in those days were Gwyneth Jones, Janis Martin, and a young Hildegard Behrens. His Fricka and Erda was Helga Dernesch. Those were the days.

Previously, Thomas Stewart was Wotan whenever we needed one. A medium weight baritone, he was able to encompass all three roles and sang them superbly, adding a wonderful gravitas as the Wanderer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
That's really interesting. I think I'm going to have to take a dive into these archives too!
I recommend you do! There's lots of interesting stuff to look at. You can find reviews for many performances and get an idea of different singers' repertoire that might not be obvious from just looking at recordings. It's also interesting to note how many times a singer sang at the MET and look at various casts that were assembled. And there are a few pictures as well. :)
 

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In more modern times, they use a younger singer for Das Rheingold. I suppose the tessitura is higher in Die Walküre, lower in Siegfried. the Wanderer being an older, tired man.

When San Francisco Opera did the Ring Cycle in the 1980s, James Morris sang Wotan in all three operas. Terry McEwen talked him into singing it for his first Ring Cycle. His sonorous, mahogany-colored, rolling voice was magnificent, and he dominated the scenes he was in, like a Wotan should. His Brünhildes in those days were Gwyneth Jones, Janis Martin, and a young Hildegard Behrens. His Fricka and Erda was Helga Dernesch. Those were the days.

Previously, Thomas Stewart was Wotan whenever we needed one. A medium weight baritone, he was able to encompass all three roles and sang them superbly, adding a wonderful gravitas as the Wanderer.
The tessitura is actually highest for the Wanderer, particularly in act 3. That act is the biggest reason basses don't sing Wotan. Walkure is the lowest, mainly in the act 2 monologue. That act is the biggest reason baritones don't sing Wotan lol
 

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I second my praise for Donald McIntyre, but I would really like to appreciate the opposite direction that Theo Adam takes compared to my favourite, Hans Hotter. Adam represented in the late 60s and early 70s the type of young Wotan that would star in the last generation of great Wagner singers. He is definetely in average level in the Janowski Ring. But the recordings where I point out the passion and intensity he brought to Wotan are in the Böhm Ring (Das Rheingold from 1965 in mono and Die Walküre and Siegfried in 1967-67 in stereo).

It's been too long since I last listened to Hermann Uhde or Thomas Stewart playing Wotan. I don't really like George London when he sung it in 1962.
 

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The tessitura is actually highest for the Wanderer, particularly in act 3. That act is the biggest reason basses don't sing Wotan. Walkure is the lowest, mainly in the act 2 monologue. That act is the biggest reason baritones don't sing Wotan lol
Thank you! I don't pay much attention to the lower male voices, so I had no idea!
 

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I second my praise for Donald McIntyre, but I would really like to appreciate the opposite direction that Theo Adam takes compared to my favourite, Hans Hotter. Adam represented in the late 60s and early 70s the type of young Wotan that would star in the last generation of great Wagner singers. He is definetely in average level in the Janowski Ring. But the recordings where I point out the passion and intensity he brought to Wotan are in the Böhm Ring (Das Rheingold from 1965 in mono and Die Walküre and Siegfried in 1967-67 in stereo).
Adam is pretty good in the 1968 Rome Siegfried, too, conducted by Sawallisch.
 
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