Wagner: Das Rheingold - Ward, Hoffman, Kelemen, Cossotto; Leitner. Buenos Airies, 1967
Listen to a Sample:
Teatro Colón's 1967 Ring gets off to a well-oiled start with Ferdinand Leitner on the podium. Leitner conducts a slick, elegant performance of the Ring Cycle's first evening, from a mystical prelude to a taut, exciting descent into Nibelheim. The cast is, to be frank, a little bit of a mixed bag (so is the brass section, but let that pass). David Ward is a booming if occasionally wooly Wotan, and Herbert Schachtshneider gives Loge plenty of guile but not much vocal power. But Grace Hoffman is a mercurial, strong-willed (and strong-voiced) Fricka, and Michael Langdon's black-voiced, frightening Fafner wipes the floor with Heinz Hagenau's Fasolt. There's a striking Erda from Erika Wien, and Froh is well-served by a luxury-cast Carlo Cossuta (who presumedly was on his off-night during a run of Otello or something), Best of all is Bayreuth mainstay Zoltan Kélémen, one of the finest Alberichs of the twentieth century, who delivers a furious, unflinching rendition of the curse. The true glories of this cycle will come when the sopranos arrive in Die Walküre, but this is a compelling, enjoyable prologue.