The Liederabend as a source of musical energy (London 2009)

“Anne Schwanewilms may be one of the greatest Strauss sopranos of her generation, but her feet have remained firmly on the ground – her career is rooted in common sense and uncommon directness…she knew she wanted to develop her concert and recital career, and to sing opera with a Lieder-singer’s attention to detail; but she also knew that to accomplish this she couldn’t expand into roles that are the province of the stentorian guard, roles in which, above all, people expect very loud notes…She is, as always, direct about her priorities: ‘For me, opera is only a part of my career. Recitals give me musical experiences that are fundamental to my development. To play so many different roles within a short space of time: that’s the central difficulty of the Lieder recital, and the challenge I love most of all.’…’In vocal terms I need to build from a base: if the base is correct, I can keep a vocal line filled with energy, with different emotions. I can play my voice like an organ, blending the colours.’ And then again we’re back to Lieder singing. Anne Schwanewilms knows that with a 100-piece orchestra and complicated stage business her flexibility will be inevitably reduced: but the kinds of exchanges that happen in song recitals, between a singer, an accompanist and an audience, will always be ideal for her – something to be reached out for in any operatic performance. It’s a lifetime’s project, and a noble one…”

Extracts from a profile and Interview in Opera Magazine, January, 2009