Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (no Rheingold) - Lindholm, Brilioth, Wennberg, Ward, Ulfung; Kempe. Stockholm, 1975


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When people describe the Kempe Ring, they are probably referring to the 1960 Bayreuth performances featuring Birgit Nilsson. There is, however, another Kempe Ring, although with a cast that couldn’t be more different but no less spectacular. Like the 1960 version, Kempe was fortunate to have a roster of singers who could convey youth as well as muster up the reserves to compete with Wagner’s notorious orchestration. Berit Lindholm as Brünnhilde is in spectacular voice and meets all of the demands without so much as flinching. Had she not been overshadowed by another Swedish soprano, she would have no doubt owned these parts on all of the great stages. As Siegfried, Helge Brilioth matches her in youth and glamor. Many will remember him from Karajan’s recording of Siegfried and any of you who were curious as to how he would fare in Götterdämmerung should be pleasantly surprised. David Ward’s voice may have a few dings on it that weren’t there during the 1960s, but he nonetheless creates a stirring portrayal of the Walküre Wotan (Jerker Arvidson dons the eye-patch as the Wanderer in Siegfried.) Other stand-outs include Barbro Ericson as Waltraute and Fricka, Siv Wennberg as Sieglinde and Ragnar Ulfung as one of the most menacing Mimes you will ever come by. Rudolf Kempe leads a varied performance that is neither fast nor slow but seems to flow almost organically from melody and text. The sound is very good. Hopefully the Rheingold will one day emerge…

OD 10973-10

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