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Customer Review

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best sound yet for these performances, 11 April 2013
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This review is from: Wagner At The Met: Legendary Performances From The Metropolitan Opera (Audio CD)
Overall I am very impressed with these remasterings, since it is evident that a lot of care has gone into the sound. The biggest improvements over existing circulating issues can be found in the 1950s broadcasts of Rheingold, Hollander, Meistersinger and Tannhauser. Even those that have been on Sirius such as the Meistersinger are better here, with far quieter surfaces and bright clear sound. The earlier performances don't show quite such an improvement, the '36 Gotterdammerung and '43 Lohengrin are comparable to the Naxos issues that were done by Ward Marston. I couldn't detect an improvement, though they are certainly not inferior either. The '37 Siegfried and '40 Walkure have quieter surfaces than other editions, but there has been some loss of brightness as a result. The '38 Tristan I think is a noticeably better copy, with quiet surfaces and good detail in the sound. The quality of the '51 Rheingold made me wish for the rest of that ring in such good sound. There is a very nice booklet and lots of good production photos that I had not seen before. My only gripe is that the cardboard sleeves holding the discs are very tight, and I found it hard to get the CDs out!
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Apr 2013 02:18:06 BDT
Wagnerfan says:
This is what I was afraid of. Those tight sleeves. Same problem with the otherwise excellent Complete Toscanini set. After a few plays your discs are so scuffed up they look like you've been playing frisbe with them. I'm not trying to be over sensitive but I'm paying for new 'clean' discs.

Worse I bet are the three disc sets with the one disc in the middle that's open at both ends. It's not only a cosmetic problem but the discs will eventually be damaged due to the heavy scuffing as they scrape the sides of the cardboard. I was looking forward to this set but I think I will pass. Thanks for letting us know about the sleeves. It is of course the music that counts but a good looking product counts as well for the money.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Apr 2013 21:00:08 BDT
I have found a drastic solution which works quite well - at least for the 2 disc sets: I used a paper cutter to trim 1/16 of an inch off the two sealed ends.
So long as you have a nice straight cut, it looks totally professional (don't use scissors).

3 Disc sets are more problematic. You can trim the sealed ends off discs 1 and 3, but disc 2 remains stuck in the middle.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Apr 2013 02:50:24 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Apr 2013 02:52:07 BDT
Wagnerfan says:
One shouldn't really have to go through the trouble.

I've never had a problem with cardboard sleeves until Sony. As a matter of fact I prefer sleeves to jewel cases. The single Sony sleeves are fine but the double and triple folders are just too tight. They've been designed wrong and I refuse to pay for their mistake.

My trick was/is to hold the cardboard sleeve in my hand and shake the sleeve until the edge of the disc shows. Then I dampen the inside of my forefinger slightly, touch the outer edge of the disc with my damp (not wet) finger and gently roll the disc out. The skin of the damp finger adheres to the discs edges just enough to form a bond and causes enough contact to get the disc out. No scuffs and no scratches.

I can't believe I'm writing this...a science to remove discs from sleeves!

Anyway, it has always worked except for Sony.

The 3-disc sleeves are horrid. If you don't finger-close the opposite sleeve opening the middle disc will slide right into the outer slot with the other disc. I've gotten huge, deep scratches across my discs trying to get both of the discs out of the one side. Totally jammed.

Hope Sony is reading this and taking notes. No more big sets from Sony for me.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Apr 2013 03:22:00 BDT
Unfortunately, I must concur completely about the really terrible sleeve problem with this otherwise very enjoyable set. Very distressing.

Posted on 31 May 2013 22:08:44 BDT
Thank you for a helpful review. The complete 1951 Met ring is available on Archipel. I ordered it several years ago from JPC in Germany. It has Flagstad as B in Walkure and Traubel assuming those roles in Siegfried and Gott. I have not listened to it recently, but my recollection is that the sound is good (radio quality for that time). From a vocal standpoint, it offers a good opportuniity to hear Taubel and Svanholm in good voice.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2013 02:38:57 BDT
Arnar says:
I was considering buying this set.. but these comments on the packaging sound as if I need an engineer to take the discs out and put them back in to the sleeves. Btw. it does not damage the discs or affect playback to touch the playing surface with the fingers if they are clean.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2013 03:05:37 BDT
The packaging is a trial, but the performances are well worth it. I find that I've created tiny tears no matter how hard I try not to, and once that's happened the sleeves are lose enough to be practical.
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