Wagner: Siegfried - Windgassen, Varnay, Hotter, Kuen, Neidlinger, Madeira; Knappertsbusch. Bayreuth, 1956
Listen to a Sample:
- It's hard to be objective when assessing Wolfgang Windgassen as Siegfried. His contributions to this role in the form of Solti and Böhms' respective Ring recordings have made his interpretation the benchmark for all other tenors. This performance, captured a number of years before those recordings, is no less brilliant. The voice has a youthful sheen that was starting to fade by the 1960s and, contrary to the normal course a voice takes, slightly darker.
- Astrid Varnay begins the final scene a little rough but quickly warms up, capping off the evening with a stunning high C.
- Of the three Wotans, The Wanderer was always the best fit for Hans Hotter. The role requires less legato singing which at times could tax him and, crucially, gives him even more opportunities to shape Wagner's long monologues with the exquisite detail that he always brought to his Lieder recitals.
- Even in the midst of this stellar cast, it is not hyperbole to say that the set is worth it just for Jean Madeira's mesmerizing Erda.
- None to mention.