The inventive and eye-opening approach to Wagner's mythic tale taken by this live, 2006 production from Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu transposes the action from forest and court to a classroom full of rascally children. It's the brainchild, so to speak, of avant-garde director Peter Konwitschny.
"Emily Magee's Elsa is lovely and girlish; she sings with a clarity and naturalness that are ideal for this interpretation…. The chorus is magnificent, singing with enthusiasm—their repeated cries of 'Heil' move from childlike wonder and welcoming to a type of mob attitude all too familiar. And because they move more naturally and fluidly in this framework, they seem all the more important. Conductor Sebastian Weigle begins the opera on a properly ethereal note and later allows the drama to grow into something far more real and passionate. Tempos seem ideally balanced and the Liceu Orchestra plays handsomely for him."—Classics Today
"[In] the Telramund–Ortrud scene and the following meeting between Ortrud and Elsa … the emotions and the manipulations are exposed in a way seldom encountered in more conventional productions…. Magee finds the silvery tone and the steadiness one expects from a good Elsa. Her singing is the best reason to hear this performance."—MusicWeb International