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WAGNER, R.: Ring des Nibelungen (Der): Das Rheingold [Opera] (Goerne, DeYoung, Begley, Sidhom, Cangelosi, Hong Kong Philharmonic, van Zweden)


Naxos 8.660374-75

   Musical Toronto, December 2016
   The New York Times, July 2016
   Fanfare, March 2016
   Fanfare, March 2016
   Opera News, March 2016
   Scene Magazine, January 2016
   Opera Now, January 2016
   La Libre Belgique, December 2015
   Parterre Box, December 2015
   Taipei Times, December 2015
   Musical Toronto, December 2015
   Sinfini Music, December 2015
   ClassicalCDReview.com, December 2015
   Infodad.com, November 2015
   ClassicsToday.com, November 2015
   Voix des Arts, November 2015
   BBC Music Magazine, November 2015
   Gramophone, November 2015
   David's Review Corner, November 2015
   The Sunday Times, London, October 2015
   The Guardian, August 2015

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Norman Lebrecht
Musical Toronto, December 2016

The Best And The Worst Classical Music Albums Of 2016 (Alternative Cuts)

…luxury cast—Stuart Skelton, Heidi Melton, Matthias Goerne, Petra Lang. © 2016 Musical Toronto



David Allen
The New York Times, July 2016

WAGNER, R.: Rheingold (Das) [Opera] (Goerne, DeYoung, Begley, Sidhom, Cangelosi, Hong Kong Philharmonic, van Zweden) 8.660374-75
WAGNER, R.: Rheingold (Das) [Opera] (Goerne, DeYoung, Begley, Sidhom, Cangelosi, Hong Kong Philharmonic, van Zweden) (Blu-ray Audio) NBD0049

Of the “Ring” dramas, Mr. van Zweden is most likely to convince in “Das Rheingold,” where overt emotionality and architectural vision are least vital. This first recording with his Hong Kong orchestra, and a solid cast proves it. © 2016 The New York Times



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, March 2016

Diminished is the last word that can be applied to Goerne’s deep, powerful portrayal of Wotan. Where other baritones have struggled in the role…time and experience have darkened Goerne’s once-honeyed tone. …all the lower male voices are outstanding.

…Kim Begley falls into the category of strong, dominant Loges, …his domineering style adds to the overall sense of dramatic intensity that is a hallmark of this performance.

…DeYoung delivers a luxurious, feminine Fricka, …The voice is as beautiful and rounded as in her youth, and as her beauty-queen sister Freia, Anna Samuil is all but ideal. The voice is luminous and young-sounding, the emotional tone an exemplary damsel in distress. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



Andrew Quint
Fanfare, March 2016

This may be Matthias Goerne’s first Wotan, but he’s among the finest singers on the planet… He’s plenty regal and—no surprise—avails himself of opportunities for lyrical shaping of Wagner’s “endless melody.” Peter Sidhom’s assured and substantial baritone is the perfect counterpart to Goerne’s Wotan, Dark Alberich symmetrically opposing Light Alberich. …Kim Begley is a familiar Loge who clearly relishes the part, and both Stephen Milling and Kwangchul Youn have served as giants in many a production. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review




Fred Cohn
Opera News, March 2016

…Matthias Goerne is a revelation. The warmth of his voice may be no surprise to anyone who has heard him sing lieder; what’s remarkable is how consistently he sustains the beauty of his tone throughout this strenuous assignment—a triumph of bel canto singing. The effect is to make Wotan less stern, more vulnerable than in a conventional portrayal; a human heart beats within his godly frame. In this performance, Goerne upholds the great tradition of Wagner singing. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review



Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, January 2016

…the performance of Matthias Goerne in the role of Wotan; a powerful portrayal that has as much to do with Goerne’s charisma on stage as it does with his nuanced, evocative voice. …this production of Das Rheingold is a version that ‘breathes’, rather than overwhelming the audience with dazzling musical might. © 2016 Scene Magazine Read complete review




Opera Now, January 2016

Matthias Goerne tackles Wotan for the first time and is a huge success: suave, sardonic, emotionally and intellectually torn. His voice has a rich legato, though the breathiness around the tone might hinder enjoyment for some. © 2016 Opera Now




N.B.
La Libre Belgique, December 2015

Abundance of gold!…one appreciates the theatrical sense here…and although the orchestra is exotic (only on paper), the cast is wholly European and of quality… © 2015 La Libre Belgique



Adriel
Parterre Box, December 2015

The big attraction here is Matthias Goerne singing his first Wotan with a virile, rich sound in the lower range that may remind some of George London. A bit tentative in the opening scenes, his characterization builds, culminating in a lied-like ode to Valhalla filled with lovely dynamic shadings and sensitive phrasing. One senses the interpretation can’t but deepen as the baritone develops a stronger personal identification with the role. © 2015 Parterre Box Read complete review



Bradley Winterton
Taipei Times, December 2015

…the orchestral playing under Jaap van Zweden is outstanding. Generally on the slow side, it never loses hold of the score’s innumerable melodies, and is always faithful to its intercutting rhythms. It’s very clearly recorded (by no means always the case elsewhere) and, most importantly, there is none of the crashing and deliberate rowdiness that marks even some very famous Ring recordings… It’s strong where it has to be strong, and fresh and incisive almost everywhere. On the orchestral side, in other words, a transparent lucidity is this recording’s greatest virtue. © 2015 Taipei Times Read complete review



Paul E. Robinson
Musical Toronto, December 2015

THE LIST | Fifteen Classical Music CD’s For Christmas

The beginning of a new recorded Ring cycle from an unexpected source. In a few short years, the Hong Kong Philharmonic has become a crack ensemble under Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden. With Matthias Goerne as Wotan and van Zweden on the podium, this is stellar music-making. © 2015 Musical Toronto




Mark Valencia
Sinfini Music, December 2015

Eri Nakamura, Aurhelia Varak and Hermine Haselböck are the Rhinemaidens, a sparky match for Peter Sidhom’s ripely bad-ass Alberich, while Deborah Humble is the embodiment of wisdom as Erda. David Cangelosi (Mime) and Kim Begley (Loge) are characterfully complex…

Matthias Goerne gives us rounded dramatic portrayal as any of his illustrious predecessors on disc. His protean god is reckless and determined, caring and contrary, and the intelligence of his interpretation is matched by the urbanity of that elegantly resonant voice. © 2015 Sinfini Music Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, December 2015

The quality of the orchestral playing is remarkable. …The cast is uniformly strong, and the audio quality is superb. © 2015 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review



Infodad.com, November 2015

This is a spacious, well-paced interpretation with some excellent instrumental touches: the anvils of Nibelheim are unusually effective, the bass trumpet and Wagner tuba are used to good effect, and the full sound of the six harps is notable. The conducting is energetic, the orchestral sound transparent, the flow of the action clearly communicated… There is a cleanliness to the sound of the orchestra that is abetted by the clean and clear sound with which this Das Rheingold has been recorded. © 2015 Infodad.com Read complete review




Robert Levine
ClassicsToday.com, November 2015

The recording is clean and clear, with no artificial anything.

The back and forth between the fine, unexaggerated Fricka of Michelle DeYoung 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: his interacting with Loge and his cajoling of Mime and Alberich all are textually and dynamically right-on. The bottom of the voice sounds remarkably rich, and while the top notes are brighter than we normally hear, he has authority. © 2015 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Joseph Newsome
Voix des Arts, November 2015

ALSO AVAILABLE: WAGNER, R.: Rheingold (Das) [Opera] (Goerne, DeYoung, Begley, Sidhom, Cangelosi, Hong Kong Philharmonic, van Zweden) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0049

…the recording is a technological triumph overseen by producer and engineer Phil Rowlands, whose expertise has produced a recording that satisfies both as a faithful reading of Wagner’s sonically thrilling score and as a memento of the frisson of this important occasion. Neither performances nor recordings of Das Rheingold are rare, but performances and recordings of the quality of this one, distinguished by the participation of a splendidly-selected cast…

…the orchestra’s playing, bolstered by marvelous performances by brasses and woodwinds, is consistently on an aptly Wagnerian scale, and Zweden paces a performance of grandeur and gravity.

This NAXOS recording of the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Rheingold, the first installment in a complete Ring Cycle scheduled for realization in increments by the end of 2018, is an achievement for which every participant and all Wagnerians must give thanks. Its weakest link is far from ruinous, and its foremost strengths—the Wotan of Matthias Goerne, the playing of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the conducting of Jaap van Zweden—foretell a Ring to challenge notions of great Wagner performances being solely things of the past. © 2015 Voix des Arts Read complete review



Michael Scott Rohan
BBC Music Magazine, November 2015

Peter Sidhom’s dark-leather tone and malevolent characterisation make an impressive Alberich, fellow Briton Kim Begley is a smooth, sardonic Loge, ideally lyrical in his narration, and Mathias Goerne, no less, sings Wotan. While his dark-velvet bass-baritone sometimes recalls the great Hans Hotter, though, Goerne’s prosaic characterisation, under-developing the god’s headstrong charisma, is surprising in such a distinguished lieder singer.

Stephen Milling’s and Kwangchul Youn’s giants, David Cangelosi’s Mime, and Anna Samuil’s Freia continue the luxury casting, along with excellent lesser gods, especially Erda, and a really lively Rhinemaiden trio. Van Zweden conducts with an easy sweep that would carry one along in the opera house, drawing some splendid sound from the orchestra… © 2015 BBC Music Magazine



Mike Ashman
Gramophone, November 2015

Matthias Goerne sings Wotan beautifully, with much baritonal sophistication, predictable (from an experienced Lieder recitalist) care for words and able negotiation of trickier moments… © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2015

Singers from ten countries came together in Hong Kong earlier this year for a concert performance of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, the first of a new Ring cycle. For the next three years the annual event will add another opera to a project masterminded by the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Music Director, Jaap van Zweden, the operas being presented for the first time in the Chinese mainland. From the opening rumblings deep down in the River Rhine, the Philharmonic prove their outstanding quality, the brass section, who are so important in Rheingold, possessing that golden glow of the finest German ensembles. Thus far we are still in Wagner’s prologue to the story, Alberich having stolen the gold from the Rhinemaidens, who had protected it for centuries in the depths of the river, now has the wealth he craves for, but it carries with it their everlasting curse. It is the self-opinionated Gods who also need wealth to create their castle from which they can dominate the world, and set about taking it from Alberich, though they are totally unaware of the curse. So begins the feud between the Gods and the underworld represented by Alberich. The part of that malevolent dwarf here taken by Peter Sidhom, a superb singer-actor who I have admired in outstanding performances of the role on stage, and his presence certainly makes the sparks fly whenever he is involved. He has another fine actor as his eventual protagonist, Kim Begley being cast as Loge the God of Fire. He is persuaded that all around him are mad, but aids Wotan, the Father-figure of the Gods, in tricking Alberich so they can rob him. Wotan is here taken by one of the leading European bass-baritones, Matthias Goerne, with the silvery voiced American mezzo, Michelle DeYoung, as his wife, Frika, and a highly regarded soprano, Anna Samuil, as her sister, Freia. Among the others in the large cast, the American tenor, David Cangelosi, is a strongly characterised and terrified Mime, and the luminescent Rhinemaidens are Eri Nakamura, Aurhelia Varek and Hermine Haselböck. Yet the performance belongs to the originators of the whole concept, with Van Zweden shaping the work in the best Wagnerian traditions, his atmospheric opening as slow as one dare go, while he brings tremendous impact to climatic moments. I have never before played a disc at such a very high volume setting, but once you get there, the British sound experts have created a vivid and wide dynamic recording taken from two ‘live’ performances, the balance between singers and orchestra as good as any on disc. The performance also comes on one Blu-ray Audio disc that offers surround sound for those with suitable equipment, and you most certainly should take this option to bring the total concert hall experience (NBD0049). © 2015 David’s Review Corner




The Sunday Times, London, October 2015

…thrilling sense of drama… © 2015 The Sunday Times, London




Andrew Clements
The Guardian, August 2015

…[Wotan’s] handling of the text is as exemplary as anyone would expect from such a seasoned lieder singer, but it’s the power and gravitas that Goerne brings to the role that are so startling. There’s real dark authority to the lower reaches of his voice, and a range of colour of the upper registers that conjures up an intriguingly complex character psychologically… © 2015 The Guardian Read complete review





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