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Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen

Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen

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Wagner’s visionary Ring of the Nibelung was first performed as a cycle of four operas in 1876. Its mythic plot examines the relationship between love and earthly power through the agency of a ring which confers ultimate power on its bearer.

One of the most sustained and remarkable achievements in all of music, the tetralogy is performed by an all-star cast, conducted by the new music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden, in performances that have been critically acclaimed worldwide for their “thrilling sense of drama.” (The Sunday Times, London)

Past praise of previously released volumes included in this set:

Das Rheingold

Van Zweden’s approach is closest in memory to Herbert von Karajan’s–intimate and chamber-like. The back and forth between the fine, unexaggerated Fricka of Michelle De Young and the remarkable, surprising Wotan of Matthias Goerne is natural and familiar, and Goerne is the surprise of the performance. His experience and expertise as a Lieder singer comes in very handy in this opera.


Die Walküre

This is a Walküre that reveals its treasures slowly; it’s a warm, intimate reading. The Wälsungs are stunning. Stuart Skelton's tone is big and clean, wobble-free. And his cries of “Wälse” in Act 1 have to be heard to be believed. Heidi Melton as Sieglinde is wonderfully expressive. The listener hangs on every perfectly pronounced, clear word she and Skelton sing, and thanks to Zweden, who leads their interactions as if the opera were bel canto, we feel for them. Interrupting their budding love is Falk Struckmann, surprisingly (he’s a baritone, not a bass). He is a grand, scary Hunding.


Wagner: Siegfried

Van Zweden's marvelously-rehearsed orchestra play with accuracy, brilliance, and color. I commented on the beauty and sadness of the Walküre performance, and here, added to those two qualities is, by the third act, passion.

Simon O’Neill may not be the most intuitive Siegfried on disc, but he’s among the brightest-toned and most solid, showing no flatting even at the end of his bout with Brünnhilde. Heidi Melton is an excellent Brünnhilde and a marvelous singer/actress, using her half hour to transform with clarity. Everyone proves their mettle, taste, and polish here, and I suspect there will be few who are disappointed.


Wagner: Götterdämmerung

This is a grand finale to the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Ring Cycle. Both Walküre and Siegfried were marvelously conceived, excellent concert performances, each with a minor flaw or two: recording balances out of whack and unfocused mid-voice for Brünnhilde in Walküre; recording too recessed in Siegfried; lack of character delineation in the Wanderer/Mime scene in Act 1 of Siegfried. I was quite taken by the storytelling in both, finding beauty, sadness, and in the Siegfried finale, passion. This set, recorded at two concert performances (and, I suspect, a patch-up session or two—there is NO applause or audience reaction anywhere), is, in one word, majestic, which is a fitting end to the Cycle.


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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 14
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Naxos CD Box Set
    • UPC/Barcode: 730099140348
    • Item Number: 8501403