12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Simply the Best Cycle Available,
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Audio CD)
Other reviewers have already covered the elements that make this such a superb performance. The only advantages of the Solti set in comparison are the superior sound (although I much prefer the orchestral/vocal balance at the Bayreuth recording), the glorious playing of the VPO and the superb Christa Ludwig as Fricka.
Everyone who appears on the Solti set simply give better performances for Bohm: Nilsson, Windgassen, James King (supreme as Siegmund in Act 1 of Walkure), the incomparable Neidlinger. This is a performance of music-as-drama of the very highest calibre. Yes, Modl is wobbly as Waltraute but she is riveting. I've always liked Adam's Wotan and he gives a tremendous, compelling performance. Highlights include a fantasic Die Walkure, with one of the greatest performances of Act 1 I've ever heard (including Rysanek's now legendary scream at the end!) Griendl is fantastic as Hagen. Even the smaller parts, like the Rhinemaidens and the other Valkyries are well-sung and dramatically convincing. Bohm's conducting is incandescent. Despite the sometimes boxy sound, despite occasional noise from the prompter or from stage action and despite some occasional rough orchestral playing this Ring is a stunning, never-to-be repeated achievement.
I wish just Decca had taken the time completely to remaster the original tapes and extract the maximum potential from the sound. Still, at just over £2-per-disc, this has to be one of the greatest Wagner bargains currently available.