I haven't listened to all of Ivan Fischer's recordings, but he's clearly a great conductor; among other strengths, he's insightful and brings out nuances that other conductors miss. That's one of several reasons why I found this recording so disappointing. First, in most of the pieces he's TOO insightful and lets the cerebral take advantage of the visceral; the only exception is the first track, the overture from Die Meistersinger, and to a lesser extent Siegfried's Funeral March and the Immolation Scene from Gotterdammerung (though there is something else that drags that last track to a dismal defeat, as discussed below). But the cerebral also seems have taken over in the selection of what to record. Perhaps I'm carping, but when you get a recording of Wagner highlights, you want to hear some of the excitement that makes Wagner, well, Wagner. The lengthy second and third tracks are occupied by the Siegfried Idyll, Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey; both gorgeous pieces, but lacking in the fireworks, particularly as Fischer interprets them. They are introspective and quiet to a fault. Sorry, Ivan.
Which brings us to the last track - the Immolation Scene. A note to Petra Lang: JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN SING BRUNNHILDE DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD SING BRUNNHILDE. She simply doesn't have the voice and sounds weak; she is constantly stretching to hit the notes and often scooping into them a la Joan Sutherland (AKA La Scoopenda). It's a very, very disappointing performance, the only virtue of which is that if I harbored any thoughts of getting Jurowski's latest ring cycle (in which Ms. Lang sings Brunnhilde in Die Walkure, at least), I've dropped that from my wish list. It's too bad - I've got Petra Lang's performance on the fabulous Colin Davis Les Troyens, in which she's terrific. And don't think that I'm unalterably opposed to a mezzo singing the role, at least on a recording - two cases in point are the ever-amazing Christa Ludwig (I'm blessed to have a recording of her singing the Immolation Scene) and the incomparable Marilyn Horne. However, Ms. Lang evidently doesn't have the chops and shouldn't have essayed this role or at least this aria.