on 17 January 2006
I got this ... fairly cheaply and was surprised by the quality of the recording and the performance. This is a live performance that was digitally recorded (DDD), so the sound is quite good with almost no audience noise. The conducting is thoughtful and lyrical, and the quality and accuracy of the playing is quite good. The singers are not particularly world-famous as in the Solti or Karajan recordings, but the singing is clear and crisp, so that you can easily understand and/or follow the lyrics in the libretto. The fact that it is a live performance lends an immediacy and excitement that is lacking in the glitzier studio-recorded performances. Those who enjoy the 1953 Bayreuth recording by Krauss will find much to enjoy here. I have listened to many renditions of the Ring cycle over the years, and I would place this recording close to the top (after Krauss, Solti, and Karajan). It's a delightful discovery at a bargain price for a complete Ring cycle. I would highly recommend it, even as a first introduction to the Ring. The version I got did not come with a libretto, but that was no problem since I have libretti from other sets of the Ring that I own. In addition, several websites carry the German libretto with an English translation.
on 17 January 2006
I picked up a copy of this set very cheaply on Ebay [UK] with no big expectations about its quality, having been brought up on the old maxim that you get what you pay for. Boy, was I ever wrong. This edition surpasses my expectations big time and while my ultimate wish is to be wealthy enough to own a set of Solti's Ring Cycle I am beginning to enjoy this set more and more.
The vocals come through clearly and for a live performance the sound is very clean. My edition came with the lyrics in German only, so unless your German is reasonably good you will need to find an English translation somewhere to help you out, but this is a small quibble. If you know the storyline you'll be able to follow things reasonably well. Having caught the Wagner bug at age 15 I can once again feel the bug taking its effect.
In my view this recording is under-rated by Wagnerians, perhaps because they are a bit snooty about a conductor who doesn't have the same international reputation as Karajan or Solti. Don't be fooled! This is an excellent recording, with crystal-clear sound quality and some great performances from the singers. Neuhold moves the action on at a good pace and the fact that it was recorded live adds excitement. There is very little audience noise throughout. At this price I recommend this recording highly, particularly for newcomers to the Ring cycle who can't afford the Solti. Even seasoned Wagnerians will enjoy it too, I think.
on 26 April 2007
Like other reviewers here I picked this up on Ebay - for the princely sum of £2.95 + p & p !!!
Because of that I was expecting the quality of the performance and the recording to match the price but the fact is both are very good indeed.
None of the singers are well-known or in the first rank of performers but they do a splendid job and the live recording makes for an exciting atmosphere with very little audience intrusion.
Obviously it cannot compete with people like Solti but at this price who can complain? Now you can own two Ring cycles !!!
The librettos are German only but easily (and cheaply) downloadable from the web. My full set cost my $5.
If you are interested in Wagner but can't afford a top label set - don't hesitate. If you feel like complementing your owned recording with a live performance - grab this now.
On a more general note, this is about the 7th or 8th set I have bought from Brilliant Classics. I have a complete set of Haydn symphonies, all of Brahms' piano music and sets of Corelli and Granados - all at bargain prices and well worth a listen.
on 10 July 2009
As someone completely new to Wagner, I bought this based on the reviews on this page. I have to say that I am delighted with it. The recording quality appears excellent and the only audience noise I have picked up is the applause at the end of each act. I'm no opera expert, but the performances sound pretty good to me and the music is wonderful. For anyone looking for an affordable way to experience The Ring Cycle, I would heartily recommend this version.