Wagner: Die Walküre - Dvorakova, Fliether, Bjoner, Kozub, Veasey, Böhme; Downes. London, 1967
Listen to a Sample:
It is truly amazing the amount of great Wagner that was coming out of London in the 60s. Perhaps it was a product of the legacy of Solti or simply the influx of new talent. Either way the Britons were spoiled with great performances year after year and this performance is no exception. It features a cast of singers woefully underrepresented on recording. Ludmila Dvorakova is outstanding in the title role. It just doesn't seem to make sense to me how a singer with the vocal color of a contralto can have such reliability in her top register. Ingrid Bjoner is a winsome Sieglinde and she is well matched next to the Siegmund of Ernst Kozub. Both singers had lyrical instruments that possessed a kind of vocal overdrive that make the frequent Wagnerian outbursts very exciting while not sacrificing the inherent lyricism in Wagner's writing. Herbert Fliether was new to me, but he is surprisingly good. It is hard to assess how big the voice was, but the vocal quality of a great Wotan was certainly there and he manages full-voiced singing without ever pushing consistently throughout the evening even up until Wotan's notoriously difficult final lines of the opera which have laid waste to many a singer. In the pit, Edward Downes shows that he is more than a house conductor. The sound is very good.