Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen - Nilsson, Hopf, Hines, Uhde, Windgassen, Frick, Töpper, Bjoner; Kempe. Bayreuth, 1960
Listen to a Sample:
- This is the first time that the 1960 Bayreuth Ring Cycle is available as it was intended with Birgit Nilsson singing all three Brünnhildes (previous versions had used a performance of Die Walküre from later in the run featuring Astrid Varnay.)
- Nilsson is at her absolute peak and exceeds the already high bar she had set in this role.
- Hans Hopf's burly Siegfried has both power and boyish charm.
- Jerome Hines delivers a heartbreaking Walküre Wotan (it is a shame that he didn't sing the other two as Hermann Uhde is not as distinguished.).
- Wolfgang Windgassen's Siegmund gives the tenor a chance to show off his impressive lyricism.
- Gottlob Frick's Hunding and Hagen are near definitive in my opinion.
- Gerhard Stolze captivates with his wiry Loge.
- Otakar Kraus brings searing intensity to the role of Alberich, giving the character a malevolence that seems truly dangerous.
- The rest of the cast includes some impressive cameos including Ingrid Bjoner's Freia, Helmwige and Gutrune and Thomas Stewart's Donner and Gunther.
- The sound is excellent.
- None to mention.