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Robert Cummings
Classical Net, February 2014

This is the second leg of Barenboim’s new Ring cycle on Arthaus Musik. I reviewed the first, Das Rheingold…at the end of 2013, finding it an excellent performance and production all around. That same excellence is in evidence in this new Die Walküre.

One of the reasons this is such a successful effort is because of the work of the female leads in the cast. Waltraud Meier as Sieglinde, Nina Stemme as Brűnnhilde, and Ekaterina Gubanova as Fricka, are all splendid. Perhaps it is Meier, though, who is most compelling among them. Her every gesture and look, as well as her beautiful voice, keep you spellbound. Simon O’Neill as Siegmund is also convincing: he has a pleasant and attractive voice…Vitalij Kowaljow…delivers a grim and convincing Wotan…the rest of the cast is quite fine, especially the Valkyries.

Another reason for the success of this production is Daniel Bareboim…His tempo choices, phrasing, and sense of drama are consistently tasteful and convincing. He knows how to accompany singers when they have the spotlight…and how to whip the orchestra into a storm crackling with kinetic drive…Needless to say, the La Scala orchestra performs splendidly under his baton throughout the opera.

The production, by Guy Cassiers, is imaginative and quite atmospheric in its mostly dark backgrounds, eerie shadows and weird video effects. The lighting, costumes, and other production aspects are very effective as well. This Blu-ray’s picture quality and sound reproduction are superb.

For Wagner mavens this new Die Walküre is a must. © 2014 Classical Net Read complete review

Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, January 2014

…this is a very good performance of Die Walküre indeed, with a generally superlative cast. Daniel Barenboim is a conductor at once powerful and sensitive. The avoidance by the producer of extra-musical glosses is welcome. All the singers are good actors with plenty of stage presence. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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