Wagner: Die Walküre - Jones, McIntyre, Bode, Schunk, Randová, Salminen; Boulez. Bayreuth, 1977


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For those of you who have never understood why opera fans (myself included) were so fanatical about Gwyneth Jones, I would direct you to this recording. Captured right at the moment that she was beginning to make the switch from jugendlische to hochdranatische roles, Jones brings a youthful abandon to the role of Brünnhilde coming across equally convincing as warrior and teenager. And although Jones will always be most remembered for her dramatic intensity, she is actually at her best in the tender moments with Wotan in Act III (she later noted that this role had special significance for her having lost her father at a young age.) Donald McIntyre finds fatherly warmth in his interactions with Brünnhilde which is even present when he is admonishing her for her disobedience. Hannelore Bode is disappointing as Sieglinde. Although she hits all the notes her soprano sounds a little warmed-over. Robert Schunk is a surprisingly good Siegmund singing with robust lyricism. A young Matti Salminen brings a touch of suavity to the part of Hunding and Eva Randová is a menacing Fricka. Pierre Boulez’ brisk tempos give the proceedings a lightness even during the Ride of the Valkyries. The sound is excellent.

OD 11192-3