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Stephen D Chakwin Jr
American Record Guide, January 2018

The key to this performance is Van Zweden. He’s School of Solti in his approach, but more like the young, unyielding Solti than the more considered interpreter who recorded the Decca Ring. The preludes of the three acts are driven brilliantly forward, but some nuances are left aside.

Goerne is a (justly) beloved lieder singer. He has a dark-toned but light-weight voice, a bit like Hermann Prey. As long as he can stay in the middle of his range, he is in command of his role.

Lang, who was Janowski’s Brunnhilde in his 2013 performance of this opera, is a fine vocal actress… She is at her best in the Todesverkundigung scene, when she is an eerie, otherworldly, oracle of death to Siegmund, and when she is arguing with Wotan in Act III.

Falk Struckmann, who in his day had much more presence to bring to the role of Wotan than Goerne does here, is a grimly understated and light-voiced Hunding.

DeYoung is a grand and rich-voiced Fricka. And an implacable one.

The orchestra is quite good—not as rich or assured as many others in this repertoire, but more than up to the challenge. The strings are round and sweet. The woodwinds are eloquent. The brass (though the horns are a little light) and percussion are fine. The valkyries are more than up to their parts. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Robert Cummings
Classical Net, May 2017

This is an excellent performance of Die Walküre in virtually every respect. …Van Zweden draws splendid playing from the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, deftly employing all sorts of nuances in dynamics and accents and obtaining seemingly perfect instrumental balances, all the while choosing judicious and never wayward tempos.

…van Zweden’s tempos tend to be moderate and always appropriate to the character of the music. In line with this sort of centrist tendency, he also seems to be eclectic in the way he views the score, not carving out a clearly distinctive style of interpretation the way Knappertsbusch or Fürtwangler or Karajan or many other conductors would. Indeed, but van Zweden consistently captures the ebb and flow of the drama and all its emotions, demonstrating that he has all the stuff of being an outstanding conductor of the operas of Wagner.

Van Zweden is supported by an excellent cast too, the two leads offering dazzling performances that can challenge those of some of the finest singers ever to take on the roles. Stuart Skelton as Siegmund possesses a hearty, versatile heldentenor voice and Heidi Melton as Sieglinde exhibits a powerful sterling soprano voice of rare beauty.

Matthias Goerne as Wotan is also very convincing, as are Falk Struckmann as Hunding and Michelle DeYoung as Fricka. The rest of the cast is quite fine too. © 2017 Classical Net Read complete review




Neil Fisher
The Times (London), November 2016

Also available: WAGNER, R.: Walküre (Die) (Goerne, DeYoung, Skelton, Melton, P. Lang, Struckmann, Hong Kong Philharmonic, van Zweden) 8.660394-97

By the time the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Ring Cycle is finished and the final album is released, the orchestra’s music director, Jaap van Zweden, will be ready to move into his new Valhalla—the New York Philharmonic, where he becomes top god in September 2018. The Dutchman was a surprise appointment but Van Zweden is known as a worker who works his orchestras hard. And it’s generally agreed that the New Yorkers need some tough love.

This atmospheric Walküre, the second part of the Ring, is evidence of Van Zweden’s success in dramatically raising standards at Hong Kong—and although Naxos is a budget label this is much more than a budget performance. © 2016 The Times (London)




Andrew Clements
The Guardian, November 2016

Recorded in concert in Hong Kong at the beginning of this year, the second part of Jaap van Zweden’s Ring Cycle for Naxos easily maintains the high standard and promise of Das Rheingold, 12 months ago.

As before, the playing of the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra provides the foundation of the performance, putting down its marker in a taut, intense account of the first-act prelude and maintaining its grip right through to the radiant account of the Magic Fire music with which Die Walküre ends. Van Zweden’s sense of pacing and drama never falters either, and some of the climaxes he engineers are thrillingly vivid—the orchestral depiction of Wotan’s rage as he seeks out Brünnhilde in the third act is as frightening as any on disc.

And once again, he has a first rate cast. © 2016 The Guardian Read complete review



Mike Ashman
Gramophone, November 2016

WAGNER, R.: Walküre (Die) (Goerne, DeYoung, Skelton, Melton, P. Lang, Struckmann, Hong Kong Philharmonic, van Zweden) 8.660394-97
WAGNER, R.: Walküre (Die) (Goerne, DeYoung, Skelton, Melton, P. Lang, Struckmann, Hong Kong Philharmonic, van Zweden) (Blu-ray Audio) NBD0051

…Heidi Melton’s generous-voiced Sieglinde is given all the space in the world to make the narration about the twins’ father Wotan the high point of Act 1 that it should be… Van Zweden follows up by allowing Stuart Skelton’s accurate and virile Siegmund equal space in ‘Heiligste Minne’…

Michelle DeYoung argues Fricka’s case with power and sweep; Falk Struckmann, in a new part of the Wagner Fach for him, uses text rather than colour to frighten as Hunding. The Valkyrie group is well chosen—someone with an excellent ear has sampled recent European cast lists skilfully. These girls not only make for a tight ensemble but provide a real foil in their little individual moments for Wotan and Brünnhilde. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone





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