Prefiguring thematic material later heard in the Vorspiel to Act Three of Tristan und Isolde, ‘Im Treibhaus’ was the last of the Lieder to be composed, but Roberts wisely concentrates on the song in its proper context rather than as a study in miniature for Tristan und Isolde. sequence on the words ‘sanft an deiner Brust verglühen’ and the consequential descent from B?? Roberts refuses to wallow in sentimentality in her singing of these songs, approaching them not as exalted products of a legendary genius but as songs that require no ostentatious grandstanding.

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with which Wagner allied her words in ‘Schmerzen’ with the attention to note values and textual clarity that Roberts brings to her performance the earnest Frau Wesendonck’s endeavors assume heightened importance. Virtually all of Richard Strauss’s 174 Lieder for voice and piano are performed with some degree of regularity, but even within this trove there are songs that seldom appear on singers’ recital or recorded programmes.

Poetically, the finest of Wesendock’s texts is that used by Wagner in ‘Träume,’ in which Tristan’s and Isolde’s ecstatic love duet was born. Published in 1918, the Sechs Lieder of Strauss’s Opus 67 are works of great difficulty, appealingly tuneful in the fashion of the composer’s most popular songs but also bitingly modern.

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Composed in 18, at the apex of their creator’s passionate but almost certainly platonic obsession with his patron’s wife and host in comfortable exile, Wagner’s Fünf Gedichte für eine Frauenstimme (WWV 91)—later christened as the Wesendonck-Lieder, taking the name of the author of their texts and the object of Wagner’s infatuation, Mathilde Wesendonck—are the most familiar selections in Roberts’s Liederabend.

Familiarity unfortunately does not equate to an overabundance of superlative recorded performances of the Lieder, so this recording by a singer for whom Wagner’s music is congenial territory is atypically welcome.

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] More diverting than the travails of Dickens characters in many cases are tales from the careers of creatures more fantastical and enigmatic than even Uriah Heep, Mr. Singers’ lives both on and off the world’s stages brim with great expectations, hard times, and experiences that are at once the spring of hope and the winter of despair. Embodying William Faulkner’s oft-quoted affirmation, conscientious artists prevail.