Liederabend | Wigmore Hall, London | June 2010

“I think the first time I heard Schwanewilms sing Strauss was in Rattle’s LSO concert performance of Ariadne auf Naxos at the Barbican many moons ago. I was impressed then, and subsequent exposure to the soprano – Euryanthe and Elettra at Glyndebourne, a flawless, spellbinding Vier Letzte Lieder at the RFH under Simone Young, a blazing Chrysothemis at Covent Garden (though no Marschallin there, tsk tsk, tsk), last year’s extraordinarily ethereal Desdemona under Colin Davis – has only served to strenghten my conviction that she is one of the very finest singers currently before the public, combining flawless musicianship, superb technique, exquisitely refined sound and imaginative insight in almost ideal proportions…put her on a recital platform, and a most unexpectedly sharp and droll sense of both character and situation emerges very clearly. The voice, when fully warmed up, has an entirely effortless, “floaty quality”…so accurate is the placement in high soft singing – absolutely ideal for Strauss…her technique is stronger that Janowitz’s, the manner less fretful and diffident than Price’s, the voice fuller and stronger than Popp’s…for me an evening of Strauss Lieder sung by Ms. Schwanewilms is as near Heaven as I …will ever get…the voice at its most lustrous and exquisitely polished, with a kind of soft glowing sheen right at the top of the range spun out effortlessly from one end of the programme to the other that I found absolutely ravishing. On form like this, there’s no-one to match her.”