Customer Review

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start, 12 Feb 2013
This review is from: Wagner: Die Walkure (Mariinsky Orchestra/Gergiev) (Audio CD)
After Gergiev's marvellously recorded Parsifal, expectations are justifiably high for his Ring Cycle, to be released over the next year or so. This recording of Die Walkure may provide some clues about how the whole cycle will pan out, and in a way it is a brave move to release the most recorded part of the cycle first. The sound is good and clean, with supple strings and sonorous brass and wind: the acoustic is acceptable, with balance between orchestra and voices very well done. Overall, the reading is restrained, lyrical, poetic and at times, quite tender. Bombastic it is not. Tempi are unhurried. By and large, the principal singers give a fine account of themselves, and it is good to see that Gergiev has gone with the best of breed as far as current Wagner singers is concerned: what a shame that Thielemann and Bayreuth did not do the same! Kaufmann is now a well-known and established Siegmund, and he does not disappoint. Kampe partners him well through a steady rather than headlong Act 1, in particular. Pape is in fine clear voice, perhaps not quite as commanding on CD as on stage, but should develop into a fine Wotan. He lacks Terfel's expressive range or intensity, for sure. Stemme is predictably gorgeous as Brunnhilde: she has such a gloriously rich range that it is the sheer beauty of her voice that can occasionally draw one's attention away from the drama itself. Unusual among today's Brunnhildes! Petrenko is a light-voiced Hunding, and Gubanova a suitably hostile Fricka. Restrained is the word for this performance: it is not hectic in the style of Bohm or Keilberth: probably not as fine overall as Leinsdorf with Vickers and Nilsson in great voice: not as dramatic as Solti, or as beautifully observed as Karajan. But if it is a slowish reading of the work, and it is, there are numerous fine moments of high drama, with the scene between Brunnhilde and Siegmund being among the most notable, and when Gergiev lets his excellent orchestra have its head, there is plenty of muscle.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Feb 2013 16:16:25 GMT
D. S. CROWE says:
A fine review as ever, Good Sir, which I deliberately did not read until I had heard the set twice and written my own-do you have a spycam in my brain by any chance? I awarded it 5 stars as modern recording, as it's the best we've had for a LONG time, but your 4 stars is possibly more accurate in the overall scheme of things. Very enjoyable though, and that's so rare in Wagner recordings these days. Best Regards As Ever, Stewart.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2013 19:16:00 BDT
J. Manger says:
Sorry to reply so late on. Have been away from 'amazon' for a while. I have listened to this Walkure several times now, of course, and still think that Pape is a work in progress. I suspect he will be an excellent Wanderer and probably OK in Rheingold - but I am less sure about even that. His range, thus far, is narrower than some and unlike many, I found Terfel at the ROH in 2012 to be very fine indeed. And I was not expecting to do so, I have to add. But, like you, I thought the production to be banal in the extreme. And not even clever banal. Am off to Bayreuth for the Ring etc this summer: erm, I am not holding my breath!
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J. Manger
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Location: UK

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