Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen - Nilsson, Windgassen, Ward, Jones, Hoffman, Langdon; Leitner. Buenos Aires, 1967
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When one thinks of the various hubs of Wagner in the world (i.e. Vienna, Bayreuth, New York) Buenos Aires seems a rather illogical addition. However, this particular Ring will attest that even if the Argentinians may have been lacking in the polish of some of the previous mentioned houses, they knew how to mount a Ring Cycle that could rival any in the norther hemisphere. Their efforts are aided to a large part by a spectacular cast. Birgit Nilsson sings all three of the Brünnhildes with shocking ease. It is truly extraordinary how a voice can have both the thrust and the beauty that she possessed. Throughout the many hours of singing, she is able to unleash laser-like high notes and then spin a legato line as if she were singing a Mozart aria without even a hint of fatigue. Her frequent partner Wolfgang Windgassen joins her as Siegfried. Although Windgassen may not have had the same power that Nilsson possessed, he navigated his way through these operas intelligently, never pushing his voice beyond its means or sacrificing the beauty and youthful sheen of his tone. Gwyneth Jones joins us as Sieglinde as well as the Third Norn and Gutrune. If memories of some of her later years may have marred your impression of this great soprano, I would quickly refer you to this performance. Her voice is flawless and she seems perfectly at home in the Wagnerian mold. David Ward delivers one of the most beautifully sung Wotans I have come across. Ferdinand Leitner leads a brisk performance and manages to extract some fine playing from the orchestra, the odd missed cue notwithstanding. The performances employ some cuts which can be jarring but also keep the performance moving. The sound is very good.
Das Rheingold in Mono
Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung in Stereo