Wagner: Götterdämmerung (excerpts) - Flagstad, Svanholm, Weber, Kindermann; E. Kleiber. Buenos Aires, 1948
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This set is an extremely tantalizing glimpse at a Götterdämmerung with perhaps the greatest dramatic soprano of the twentieth century. Kirsten Flagstad may have been slightly past her best years in 1948 but she still sings with amazing assuredness (although minus the high C in the duet.) One of the things that is so striking about this artist is that despite the opulence of her tone she never seems to be singing at the extremes of her ability. Every note seems a natural expression of the character as opposed to a means to cut through the orchestra. She is joined by Set Svanholm who is extremely effective especially in the heroic moments. He colors his voice better than any other tenor I have heard at the end of Act I when he appears in the form of Gunther. Lastly Ludwig Weber, in the prime of his career, delivers a suave yet black-voiced Hagen. Erich Kleiber leads an idiosyncratic yet intense performance. It would be amazing if a complete version emerged. Missing are the Gunther of Hans Hotter and the Gutrune of Rose Bampton. The sound is extremely good for the era.