The conducting is in capable hands. The singing and orchestral playing vary more. Ingrid Bjoner, from Norway, makes generally beautiful sounds as Elsa, and also develops appropriate toughness in her confrontations with the nasty Ortrud. Astrid Varnay, a Swede, sings Ortrud in a commanding manner. She offers a splendid scene with Telramund in Act 2. Their voices are both tough in quality, and they even handle sneering portamentos in much the same way. These two villains deserve each other.