, 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'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.
3:08:14 AM, 19 December 2014
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