14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
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This review is from: Wagner: Die Walküre (MP3 Download)
It's really problematic how to rate this recording. By modern standards, it is very decent and even better. However, if you give 5 stars to recordings like Solti's, this can't compete at all. 3 stars then - "it's ok", as Amazon puts it. But it is important to remember that "ok" is a very rare and exciting situation for a recent Wagnerian recording, since most of them are just terrible.
Jonas Kaufmann's Siegmund is already known from other recordings. He gives a lyrical interpretation that dangerously borders with melodrama, which is probably not the best thing for Wagner, but if you take it, he is admirable. Anja Kampe meets one's expectations as Sieglinde and probably even surpasses them. Nina Stemme is surely one of the best Brünnhildes around, and here she gives a heart-warming interpretation of the title character. I found René Pape's Wotan rather restricted and even boring to my taste, yet he has what many recent Wotans lack - dignity.
The weakest part of the recording is, sadly, Gergiev. His conducting is, of course, very professional, but it is just not interesting at all. He doesn't kill the music, though.
I would never recommend this recording as your first, second, third - and, let's face it, even tenth - "Die Walküre". But if you are interested in Wagner's music (and already have listened to at least some of recordings like Solti, Karajan, Böhm, Keilberth, Krauss, Furtwängler, Leinsdorf, Knappertsbusch etc), you will surely be interested in what Wagnerian singing is like today. Good news - it isn't hopeless! Let's hope Wagner's anniversary will give us more interesting recordings, of this level and higher.
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Initial post: 2 Mar 2013 13:15:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Mar 2013 11:21:56 GMT
Very to the point review. I couldn't agree with you more. Also I think, that Gergiev in many places makes the orchestra sound very small. It's the first time I have heard Kaufmann sing Siegmund. I have had great hopes for him as a Wagner singer, since I have always found his voice to be much more of a heldentenor rather than anything else. But he have probably chosen visely by waiting to attack these heavier roles so that he'll last longer. But in this case I find his sound to be all too covered and inexpressive for my taste. Wagner singing today certainly isn't what it was around the middel of the previous century. But thank goodness we have the recordings from that era. Today it seems that especially the lead roles - Brünnhilde, Isolde, Siegfried, Tristan, Wotan etc. are difficult to cast with singers that are truely able to fulfill the demands of the parts. But on the other hand I do agree that it is not a hopeless situation, thinking of singers like e.g. Nina Stemme, Irene Theorin and Jonas Kaufmann.
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