Wagner: Das Rheingold - Hotter, Malaniuk, Neidlinger, Witte, Uhde, Stolze; Keilberth. Bayreuth, 1953
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Das Rheingold in many ways is the most difficult opera of the Ring to pull off. Of all the operas, it is the most plot-driven and has the fewest show-stopping numbers. And although the vocal demands are formidable, more than anything it requires an ensemble that is able to play off of one another in order to properly set up the following three nights. This recording delivers on that front. Hans Hotter is possibly one of the most human Wotans. Hardly lacking in gravitas, his Wotan is more of a thinker than a bellower. Ira Malaniuk is a rich-voiced Fricka. Gustav Neidlinger adds a touch of elegance to Alberich. The sound is excellent.