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Comments

Dmitry

This is an interesting performance. Bohm's tempi are quite fast - his is one of the fastest RINGs on disc. My main issue with it, however, is Wolfgang Windgassen's Siegfried (and Loge.) I've never been fond of this singer - dry voice and always singing just under the pitch - and here he is barely bearable to my ears. But Bayreuthians worshipped him - for reasons I'll never quite understand.

Philip

Windgassen would have been quite old at the time of this RING, and with an awful lot of mileage on his vocal cords. So far in listening to the first disc of RHEINGOLD you are correct: he sings flat and sounds tired. I can't imagine him getting thru the Siegfrieds on this kind of form. But I do like him very much on the 1953 Keilberth LOHENGRIN.

You're right: Bohm does go really FAST much of the time.

George R. Weinhouse MD

This is for many the definitive RING. There is no substitute for the heat of performance to catch these singers at their best. This includes Nilsson. Probably no recording does her huge voice justice, but her live recordings probably come closest to capturing this force of nature. I remember buying some of this RING when it was first released in 1973, some seven or eight years after the performances place.

Philip

I'm not sure there's a definitive RING recording., though there are great elements in many of the sets.

Judging from his Loge, and not having yet listened to his Siegfried, I would say I agree with Dmitry that Windgassen is something of a blot on this Bohm cycle. But I think Birgit's own assessment that she shines to better advantage here than on the Solti set is spot on, at least what I've heard so far.

George R. Weinhouse MD

I have the SIEGFRIED set ( at one time they were all available separately) I think Windgassen does a good job as the hero. I don't think one can really judge on the basis of his Loge. I think there are more opportunities for a heldentenor to shine in the more lyrical passages in SIEGFRIED and GOTTERDAMMERUNG. Try them and see if you agree.

Philip

I've been playing some of Windgassen's Siegfried and he sounds rather faded to me.

Dmitry

I agree that there is no definitive RING cycle. Almost all of them contain something superior to all the rest, though certainly some are more consistent than others. To me Windgassen virtually ruins the later two operas. He is almost excellent on the Solti "Siegfried," however. Of all the RINGs I have I'd listen to each one for different reasons, depending on my mood. The one I wish would be release commercially is Giuseppe Sinopoli's last cycle in Bayreuth. I have radio broadcasts of it and his conducting is astounding. Perhaps one day...

Philip

Yes, you have to have commercial recordings and then supplement them with brodcasts in order to have a really enjoyable RING library.

I've listened to a few more random scenes from the Bohm RING and feel a bit deflated by some of the performances: Modl's Waltraute for instance - I know she was a great Wagner singer but she is past her best days here and despite her dramatic insights she sounds too vocally depleted to be really satisfying.

Windgassen's tired Loge deprives RHEINGOLD of it's spark (!!!) and puts a damper on an otherwise pretty stimulating performance of that opera.

George R. Weinhouse MD

I still believe the Bohm RING is the one to have if only for Nilsson's astounding Brunnhilde. If you have Sirius satellite radio you can listen to some of the RING broadcasts on Channel 85 from the 60's and 70's,from the Met.. Jess Thomas's Siegfried is quite good in the 1975 Ehrling cycle also with Nilsson.

Philip

I was at the Ehrling RING and loved his conducting - some people didn't - but Nilsson by then was having severe pitch problems. She also took on Sieglinde at the Met that season and she was awful; it was too low for her and she kept sharping.

A hilarious incident occurred the night I saw her Sieglinde: when Siegmund (Kolbjorn Hoiseth) pulled the sword from the tree, the blade broke off and flew into the front scrim. Nilsson and Hoiseth spent the remaining moments of Act I rhapsodizing over the grip of Nothung. Watching her thru binoculars I could see that Birgit was cracking up.

The late Maestro Ehrling became a favorite customer of mine when I worked in retail; he was kind of cranky at times and some of my colleagues refused to wait on him. But he and I got on well and his wife, a former ballerina, was a complete delight.

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