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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
19
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 28 April 2013
I haven't much to add to what others have said about this important set. We need many more like it, because in America draconian copyright legislation makes the release of historical material very difficult. That this is authorised by the copyright holders and draws on the best sources is a huge plus. By and large we do well in terms of audio quality as a result, though there were passages when I would have settled for less noise reduction and a bit more noise, because periodically I hear unwelcome by-products of the processing.

The packaging is appalling. The CDs are forced into very tight cardboard compartments from which it takes brute force to extract them. You can't easily avoid touching the playing surface. I have already ripped the Tannhauser package, almost in half. Maybe I'm not patient enough, but I don't see why I'm being make to work so hard by Sony. Very poor.
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on 10 April 2013
Courtesy of the Mets own shop (which hilariously asks $100 vs Amazon's bargain price of £35.

Der Fliegende Holländer (1950)
Conductor: Fritz Reiner
Artists: Hans Hotter, Astrid Varnay, Set Svanholm, Sven Nilsson

Tannhäuser (1954)
Conductor: George Szell
Artists: Ramon Vinay, Margaret Harshaw, Astrid Varnay, George London, Jerome Hines

Lohengrin (1943)
Conductor: Erich Leinsdorf
Artists: Lauritz Melchior, Astrid Varnay, Kerstin Thorborg, Alexander Sved, Norman Cordon

Das Rheingold (1951)
Conductor: Fritz Stiedry
Artists: Hans Hotter, Set Svanholm, Lawrence Davidson, Margaret Harshaw

Die Walküre (1940)
Conductor: Erich Leinsdorf
Artists: Kirsten Flagstad, Lauritz Melchior, Julius Huehn, Marjorie Lawrence, Karin Branzell

Siegfried (1937)
Conductor: Artur Bodanzky
Artists: Lauritz Melchior, Kirsten Flagstad, Friedrich Schorr, Karl Laufkötter, Eduard Habich

Götterdämmerung (1936)
Conductor: Artur Bodanzky
Artists: Marjorie Lawrence, Lauritz Melchior, Ludwig Hofmann, Dorothee Manski, Kathryn Meisle, Friedrich Schorr

Tristan und Isolde (1938)
Conductor: Artur Bodanzky
Artists: Kirsten Flagstad, Lauritz Melchior, Karin Branzell, Emanuel List, Julius Huehn

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1953)
Conductor: Fritz Reiner
Artists: Victoria de los Angeles, Paul Schöffler, Hans Hopf, Gerhard Pechner, Josef Greind
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on 11 April 2013
Overall I am very impressed with these remasterings, since it is evident that a lot of care has gone into the sound. The biggest improvements over existing circulating issues can be found in the 1950s broadcasts of Rheingold, Hollander, Meistersinger and Tannhauser. Even those that have been on Sirius such as the Meistersinger are better here, with far quieter surfaces and bright clear sound. The earlier performances don't show quite such an improvement, the '36 Gotterdammerung and '43 Lohengrin are comparable to the Naxos issues that were done by Ward Marston. I couldn't detect an improvement, though they are certainly not inferior either. The '37 Siegfried and '40 Walkure have quieter surfaces than other editions, but there has been some loss of brightness as a result. The '38 Tristan I think is a noticeably better copy, with quiet surfaces and good detail in the sound. The quality of the '51 Rheingold made me wish for the rest of that ring in such good sound. There is a very nice booklet and lots of good production photos that I had not seen before. My only gripe is that the cardboard sleeves holding the discs are very tight, and I found it hard to get the CDs out!
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on 3 August 2013
There is no reason to mince matters here - this is a wonderful box of discs with singing of a beauty and power that one cannot even imagine hearing today. Those who listened to the recent Ring at the Proms will be astonished by these singers. And the sound is quite acceptable but the price is a joke - 25 discs for just over £25! Grab it while you can.
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on 4 December 2014
The sound is only just bearable at times and a performance of Parsifal is sadly missing, but this is a charming box set of Wagner from another world - and the glorious voices of that age are preserved for us. The Tristan and Hollander are very fine.
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on 29 July 2013
It's a beutiful box! Very good sound, excellent performers. You can hear Lauritz Melchior and Kirsten Flagstad at the best !
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on 18 May 2013
Great performances and an exceptional price becomes this box one of more desireable at this Wagner 200th year birthday comemoration.
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on 26 May 2013
If you are a Wagner obsessive you will probably have most of these operas in bootleg off-the-radio versions, but even so this set is thoroughly recommendable - the remastering is as good as it is going to get and the presentation is excellent. Again if you are a Wagner obsessive you won't need to be told that these are majestic performances by some of the greatest Wagner singers. If you are new to Wagner, or a beginner, start somewhere else, for example with the excellent DG box of more recent performances, Levine, Kleiber et al.
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on 6 August 2013
I am an avid collector of historic recordings, both from studio and live performances. Having bought the Bayreuth Vision collection and purchased the Met collection looking forward to an equally exciting set of performances. The casts are wonderful with great names like Flagstad and Melchior singing together, especially in "Tristan und Isolde" - a partnership for all time. However, my reservations lie not with the singers but with the recording quality and the conducting of Bodanzky. There is a world of difference in the sound quality between the Bayreuth on-stage recordings and those from the Met. The Met sound, despite being cleaned up by up to date technology, is thin and sounds its age. I know most of the recordings are pre-WW II and therefore older than most of the Bayreuth performances, but it still remains a disappointment. I have a couple of Bodanzky live recordings in my collection and have always disliked his excessively fast tempi, but in the performance of "Tristan" in this set it is ridiculous. It seems at times as if the singers, great though they are, struggle to keep up and get ther words out. As for the orchestra in this opera, the playing is scrappy - how else could the strings play at such fast tempi.

Other performances are fine and can be enjoyed, as long as listeners are prepared for a less than perfect sound quality. For devotees of historic Wagner performances I would recommend the Bayreuth Vision set with classic casts and exceptional conductors.
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on 26 August 2013
All mature Wagner operas except Parsifal are here, and the editors' choice among the many Met broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s and 50s is reasonable - in particular as they obviously wanted to include as many great singers as they could. Where I was able to compare, they sound better than ever before.
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