Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen - Kuchta/Lindholm, Windgassen/Parly, Adam/Greindl; Maazel. Bayreuth, 1968
Listen to a Sample:
It is a rare pleasure to come across a complete performance of the Ring Cycle. Even without being in the theater, if one takes the time to sit down and listen to the whole thing over the course of a week, one comes out of the experience with a clear idea for both the music director’s and even the stage director’s vision for what is probably the largest work of art ever created. This performance captures a mix of legends like Leonie Rysanek, James King, Helga Dernesch, and Theo Adam, with some artists that, although brilliant, didn’t become superstars. Stand-outs include Gladys Kuchta and Berit Lindholm who split the role of Brünnhilde as well as the Wanderer of Josef Greindl. Greindl mainly stuck to villains like Hagen and Hunding, so hearing him have a chance to be the nice guy as well as sing some nice melodies is a treat. The smaller parts are filled with some incredibly talented singers included the Gutrune and Freia of Helga Dernesch, the Gunther of Thomas Stewart and a cameo appearance featuring Erika Köth as the Forest Bird. The musical direction by Lorin Maazel is simply first rate both for his support of the singers and the overall pacing of the drama, making this one of my favorite live Ring Cycles.