with Michael Spyres

In The Shadows

This album endeavors to illuminate the composers who languish in Wagner’s shadow: those who formed the foundation of his compositional aesthetic and sculpted the framework of vocal writing that would become the Wagnerian tenor.
Michael Spyres
Julien Henric
Choir master
Marc Korovitch
Jeune Chœur de Paris
Christophe Rousset
Les Talens Lyriques
In The Shadows with Michael Spyres


The name alone can incite fervent discussions about identity, cultural nationalism, musical revolution, the nature of human expression. His vast oeuvre – so complex that its first scholarly edition took nearly half a century to complete – resembles a dense, labyrinthine forest. For decades I found myself hesitant to delve into this territory. Over the course of my operatic career, I’ve had the privilege of an extraordinarily diverse repertoire, yet Wagner always stood dauntingly apart.

There’s no doubt that this impression is largely shaped by the composer’s own self-styling: in his theoretical tracts, Wagner presents himself as a revolutionary malcontent, solely capable of and responsible for a cataclysmic transformation in artistic expression. He makes sweeping denunciations of nearly all opera that precedes him and refuses to apply the term “opera” to his own work. Perhaps Wagner embodies the formidable Nidhogg: the winged serpent of Norse mythology whose arrival heralds a renewal only possible through catastrophic destruction. Wagner, it seems, gnaws at the very roots of opera just as Nidhogg gnaws at the base of Yggdrasil, the tree of the world. And so I delve into the woods.

– Michael Spyres

MEHUL Joseph “Vainement Pharaon, dans sa reconnaissance…Champs paternels”
BEETHOVEN Fidelio “Gott! Welch Dunkel hier!…In des Lebens Frühlingstagen”
ROSSINI Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra “Della cieca fortuna un tristo esempio…Sposa amata”
MEYERBEER Il crociato in Egitto “Suona funerea”
WEBER Der Freischütz “Nein, länger trag’ ich nicht die Qualen…Durch die Wälder, durch die Auen”
AUBER La Muette de Portici “Spectacle affreux!…Ô Dieu! toi qui m’as destiné”
SPONTINI Agnes von Hohenstaufen “Der Strom wälzt ruhig seine dunklen Wogen”
BELLINI Norma “Meco all’altar di Venere…Me protegge, me difende”
MARSCHNER Hans Heiling “Gönne mir ein Wort der Liebe”

Die Feen “Wo find ich dich, wo wird mir Trost?”
Rienzi “Allmächt’ger Vater, blick’ herab!”
Lohengrin “Mein lieber Schwan!”


This album was recorded from the 2nd to the 7th of December 2022 at the Salle Colonne, Paris,  for Warner Classics/Erato.
© 2024 Parlophone Records Limited

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an excerpt