14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
one of the best,
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine [DVD]  [NTSC] (DVD)
It is not easy to know where to start, but Das Rheingold gets off well with a fantastic set for the the gorgeous voices of the Rhinemaidens, and I think Alberichs costume is excellent.
The set for the gods is no less impressive and the costumes are appropriate for my traditional tastes, particularly Jerusalems Logi.
Neibelheim keeps up the standards, and notable is Zednik as his voice is well suited to Mime.
In Die Valkure the interior of Hundings house is well presented. Lakes and Norman are in fine voice as the twins and Kurt Moll has a fine lyric voice. Lakes voice is distressed and plaintive, just what the part calls for. The drama between the two men is brilliantly portayed. Behrens voice is fine but tends to get lost in the orchestra in her lower register. In the later operas this does not seem a problem. In act 3 I have rarely seen or heard a finer set of Valkure. The fire round Brunnhildes rock is pretty impressive at the end.
In Siegfried with Jerusalem and Zednik it is immediately clear that a treat is in store, with the sly Mime a perfect foil for th swaggering Siegfried. Once again the set is highly appropriate, the forging of the sword looked very realistic.
Although only a cameo role Dawn Upshaws offstage woodbird is a delight on the ear.
In act three Svenden has a rich contralto, with an interesting mysterious lighting effect.
Gotterdammerung opens with a fine trio of Norns, looking the part too. Since the relationship of Brunnhilde and Seigfried is excellent, as it was in Siegfried even though I did not mention it earlier. Jumping forward to the hall of the Gibichungs Matti Salminen is well ahesd in voice and acting of any other version that I own or have seen. The chorus welcoming Gunther is also a highlight.
When Siegfried encounters the Rhinemaidens the girls voices blend beautifully, the sum being greater than the individual parts, and they are pretty good.
Skipping to the end the final moments of the Rhinemaidens underwater followed by the burning of Valhalla make a tremendous climax.
I have six versions of The Ring, and only the Pierre Boulez version with Gwyneth Jones comes up to this standard.