Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen - Jones, Kollo, Thomas, McIntyre, Hofmann, Bode; Boulez. Bayreuth, 1976
Listen to a Sample:
My first experience with opera came when I was 3 years old. My father was watching the Chéreau Ring Cycle. According to him, I went and sat on his lap and watched the whole thing with him in rapt silence. It seems fitting that I should be initiated in such a way and even though I don’t remember this experience, as I would go on to cultivate an obsession both with Wagner and with Gwyneth Jones (as many of the regulars already know.) I was beyond pleased to encounter this Ring Cycle and find that on almost every front it is better than the commercial release. Pierre Boulez’s conducting is nuanced and varied favoring brisk tempi but not being afraid to slow down when the music calls for it. Gwyneth Jones is at her absolute best delivering a performance that is remarkable both for its beauty and dramatic force (and not to mention some unparalleled high Cs.) In addition there are some interesting variations including René Kollo as "Der Junge" Siegfried, Jess Thomas as the Götterdämmerung Siegfried, Karl Ridderbusch as one of the most suave Hagens you will ever come across and Eva Randová as a wonderfully hysterical Fricka. The sound is excellent!