This highlights disc is taken from the great Barenboim Ring cycle recorded in 1991 and 1992 at Bayreuth. DAS RHEINGOLD was recorded in June/July 1991, and the other three operas were recorded in June/July 1992.
The Barenboim Ring cycle is acclaimed as one of the best of recent times, with John Tomlinson as Wotan, Anne Evans as Brunnhilde, and Siegfried Jerusalem, appropriately enough, as Siegfried. While listeners, critics and philosophers have argued passionately about various interpretations of Wagner's libretto, and opera fans and critics debate the relative merits of singers and performances and sets, there are few who are not moved by the magnificent music. And Barenboim and the Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele are superb!
What you have here is 73'18 of fantastic Wagner, with excellent singers. The liner notes are minimal, just a brief synopsis of the characters and story. The complete box includes four lengthy booklets, one for each opera, containing the complete libretto.
This disc was reissued on Apex, and the other three Ring operas are also available in this Barenboim highlights series: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, and Siegfried. I listen to these Barenboim highlights discs more often than the entire operas -- the length is ideal for everyday listening, while the entire operas, let alone the entire cycle, require some specially dedicated listening time. And while it wouldn't make sense to *watch* these works in fragments, the music does not have the same requirement. I can enjoy the Ring an hour at a time much more often than the entire operas -- thank goodness I'm not a purist, or I would only hear the music on rare occasions.
And if you are not sure about Wagner or the Ring, or not sure about the practicality of such long multi-disc operas, then by all means check out these Barenboim highlights discs and hear for yourself!