Wagner: Das Rheingold - Hines, Resnik, Stolze, Kraus, Ward, Stewart; Kempe. Bayreuth, 1961


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In an era where Rudolf Bing at the Met was overlooking many fine American singers in favor of foreign born talent, it was fortunate (and somewhat incongruous) that these singers were warmly received Bayreuth. You may know Jerome Hines from the many Italian roles he did at the Met. In this performance of Das Rheingold he proves that he has the both the vocal and temperamental goods for an outstanding Wotan. He is joined by Regina Resnik as Fricka. In addition to Resnik's rich mezzo voice, she had a flare that helped her to excel in roles that were not always the most sympathetic, and some could even say shrewish (think of her definitive Klytämnestra in Elektra.) Resnik's vocal power, in both the upper and lower reaches of her range, makes for a Fricka that can stand up to even the top god. Gerhard Stolze will forever be linked to the role at Mime, but in this performance he sings Loge. Although he may lack the vocal warmth that Wolfgang Windgassen brought to the part, he more than makes up for it with his keen sense of language and phrasing. Thomas Stewart is the definition of luxury casting as Donner. A note about the recording: I created this set from two different masters. One was in good sound and complete, the other in excellent sound but only about ninety minutes of music. I have married the two together so that you may enjoy the pristine quality of the latter but it makes for one or two transitions which I have done my best to smooth out.

OD 10996-2