Customer Review

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nilsson's finest hour, and she said so herself, 10 Sep 2010
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
For people who can't quite wean themselves off Solti and onto the joys of Keilberth or Krauss (both wonderful, and you can't have too many Rings) this offering might be a good answer; it's live, but the sound is modern and so is the feel of the orchestra. Boehm's conducting is beautiful, Nilsson impassioned and involved as well as searing, Windgassen much less tired than he was for Solti. Some people are mean about Theo Adam, and he won't remind you of Hans Hotter, but if you like Bernd Weikl as Hans Sachs you'll probably like Adam's Wotan; not mellifluous, but the god is hurting, so why should he sound calm and pretty? The Immolation Scene is to die for, and only Traubel and Lawrence do it better (neither is available, strangely, so soak up gorgeous Varnay or Flagstad). But soak this up too; you won't be sorry.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Nov 2010 14:23:23 GMT
D. S. CROWE says:
Dear Jane,Reading your review of this set, then perusing your other reviews of other sets and books, I am impressed by your knowledge of Wagner -nearly as comprehensive as mine-(joke-ish) and your secular beliefs (not as rabid as mine-I would bulldoze churches and mosques etc. as they offend me in that they are monuments to man's superstition and gullibilty!). I am really tired of the current spate of productions, particularly in Germany/Austria which include gratuitous appearances by Nazi Stormtroopers etc. Hasn't this been done to death? We of a certain generation understand fully the associations between Wagner and Nazism, though I get infuriated by the likes of Norman Lebrecht who attributes the holocaust entirely to Wagner (and in his case to Parsifal in particular as a work,) when this is palpable nonsense, as if anti-semitism did not exist prior to Wagner. It was the societynorm-, particularly a Catholic dominated one.Wagner would have been looked at askance if he had taken a strong pro Jewish stance, as happened to Nietzsche when he did so (which the Aryan and Zarathustra critics conveniently forget!)
Enough of that contentious subject-I don't like the Kaufmann Lohengrin as much as you, though he is superb I do agree. I like the Sinopoli/Kupfer Hollander more than you do, when even Weikl gives a reasonable performance .(his Sachs for Sawallisch finds his voice worn out, but at least he makes him sound a jovial type unlike most other interpreters who make him sound either up his own a**se with solemnity or in the case of van Dam, a suicidal depressive!).Yeah, I know the old "to my astonishement it had all been a dream" ploy is REALLY old hat, and I take your Hamlet reference on board-but hey, when did you start expecting any new production ideas for Wagner that actually work? I was at the first performance of the new Tannhauser at the Wiener Staatsoper (Dresden 1845 second edition for a change from Paris) which was musically superb under Welser-Most. Botha was vocally the Heinrich of your dreams, and Matthias Goerne brought a real lieder singer's beauty to the role of Wofram. Here's the thing-the production was set in 1900 Vienna-all Schnitzler and Freud references-and for me was GREAT! It took place-wait for it-in Heinrich's head!!! The last act actually takes place in the cell (which revolves to give us the corridor outside )of a famous Otto Wagner designed Spittelberg asylum. Elizabeth takes an overdose and dies in bed, Wofram holds a pistol his head to end it all, but is interrupted by a Pilgrim's chorus of loonies dressed as if from "Dawn of the Dead" and staggering about like said zombies-I have to tell you, it was great fun and the best Wagner night I have enjoyed for years! When did you last hear the words Tannhauser and fun in the same sentence? I love the Fura dels Baus ring, despite it being under Mehta (I'm NOT a fan)-it's often daft but never dull, and is in general wonderfully sung and played. It's superb in Blu-Ray, unlike the dreadfully dull Rattle Walkure. On a different tack, I read " The Cricus is Coming " 50 years ago-I still have fond memories of it-have you read the "gnome sagas " by "BB", particularly "The Forest of Boland Light Ralway."? I preferred it to the "The Little Grey Men", which is generally held to be the great work. They've probably fallen foul of the PC brigade and should not be referred to as gnomes, but vertically challenged, so as not to offend....well, gnomes. What times we live in.
I suspect that Bayreuth will become a no-go area under the new regime based on events so far.To be honest, i think Wagner sounds better in a proscenium set up, and in Vienna and Dresden better than anywhere. i hope you will see this post-like you, by the way, I have history degree
Best Regards, Stewart Crowe , stewart dot crowe at beetee internet dot com.
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