Wagner: Das Rheingold (In English) - Bailey, Howard, Hammond-Stroud, Belcourt, Lloyd, Grant; Mackerras. ENO, 1972

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This English language performance of Das Rheingold is most remarkable for who is not in it.  Shortly before it was to take place Reginald Goodall took ill.  Fortunately the cast was left in the very capable hands of Sir Charles Mackerras and this new point of view sets the proceedings on fire.  Although Mackerras seems to pay his respects to Goodall's slower tempi, the overall pacing is much more varied and has a vitality that Goodall's interpretation lacked.  One can only imagine what he would have done with the other three operas.  Norman Bailey is excellent as Wotan.  His voice is tireless and his diction crystal clear.  Ann Howard is a lush Fricka.  The standouts for me, however, are the Loge of Emile Belcourt and the Alberich of Derek Hammond-Stroud.  Both bring true character to these character parts as well as very admirable singing.  The sound is good.  Please note that there was about thirty seconds of music missing in the last scene and an unknown performance in German was inserted for the sake of continuity.

OD 10562-2

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