Belgian conductor Rene Jacobs’ new recording of Weber’s singspiel Der Freischütz with the Freiburger Barockorchester is an intriguing prospect for those familiar with the work. The opera’s awkward conclusion has always been a bit of a sticking point, where the sudden appearance of a Hermit sends everyone on their merry way. By reinstating material from the original version of Johann Friedrich Kind’s libretto, Jacobs goes some way in improving this awkward conclusion – a newly created prologue introduces the Hermit from the start, making the ending feel infinitely less contrived than it normally does.

Rene Jacobs

The cast assembled here is a good one, though won’t displace listeners’ favourite interpreters any time soon. In the now embiggened role of the Hermit, Christian Immler is by turns authoritative and tender, making the most of his restored scene with Polina Pasztircsák’s Agathe. Pasztircsák’s silvery, smallish soprano can be very beautiful, though she lacks the dramatic intensity of somebody like Lise Davidsen, whose singing on Marek Janowski’s Pentatone recording is often hair-raising. 

Maximillian Schmitt...