Wagner: Das Rheingold - Stewart, Fassbaender, Schreier, Keleman, Stolze, Ridderbusch; Karajan. Salzburg, 1973

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This performance of Das Rheingold came as a dry run for Karajan’s planned film of the Ring Cycle. Sadly, that project never got past Das Rheingold, but it still yielded an interesting counterpoint to Karajan’s earlier Ring effort with the most notable difference being Thomas Stewart as the head-god. Stewart’s Wotan could not be more different from Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s introspective approach, and although I found myself missing Fischer-Dieskau’s nuance, you can’t help but appreciate Stewart’s formidable vocal stature. Brigitte Fassbaender is an excellent Fricka bringing imperious poise and vocal opulence. The best performance, however, comes from Peter Schreier who brings vivid engagement to Loge’s many long monologues. Gerhard Stolze makes much of his brief appearance as Mime. The sound is very good.

OD 11448-2

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