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Ian Bailey
MusicWeb International, November 2007

"These discs have interest for any Wagnerian and are by no means negligible. In terms of sound quality this Naxos issue scores highly. There is an excellent sense of being seated in a prime stalls seat in the house with the real tangibility of the theatre."

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2007

The Gods are in disarray, Siegfried who now has the golden ring, though as yet he neither understands its significance or its power, has destroyed Wotan's omnipotence. The evil and once vanquished Gibichungs are in the ascendancy and Gunther and Hagen are plotting to regain the ring by tempting Siegfried to marry Gunther's sister, Gutrune, but that involves separating Siegfried from Brunnhilde to whom he has pledged eternal love. That it will all end in tragedy is obvious from the outset, the Norns explaining at length the story thus far in a lengthy introduction. That section in almost every recording of the opera is the weak part of the cycle, casting directors never quite realising the importance of a strong opening, and this version is no exception. But once the main protagonists are on stage, the performance moves up a gear. As with previous volumes in the cycle, it concentrates on music theatre where vocal acting is a major ingredient, and in Franz-Josef Kapellmann we have a superb Albrecht and suitably evil Hagen from Roland Bracht. Albert Bonnema takes a lyric view of Siegfried, and I particularly like his boastful approach as he tells his life story to Gunther, Hagen and their vassals. Luana DeVol's Brunnhilde rather saves itself in this 'live' recording for the exertions of her moving final act. Eva-Maria Westbroek is probably a little too steely to seduce Siegfried, but has the vocal equipment for the part. The critics have not been unanimous about Lothar Zagrosek's conducting in previous parts of the cycle, but I find his unfussy and unexaggerated tempos offer a welcome change to much we have had from the Solti era onwards. He gets much involved playing from the orchestra with a highly charged Funeral March, and I have never heard a more thrilling choral entry of the Gibichung hoard. Stage noises happen but never intrude unduly in a well-balanced recording. Without doubt Naxos have left the best to the last.

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