Wagner: Götterdämmerung - Harshaw, Svanholm, L. Hoffmann, H. Konetzni, Rothmuller, Sutherland, Shuard; Kempe. London, 1955
Listen to a Sample:
The bad news first: This recording is far from perfect sound-wise. There are miscellaneous glitches every now and then and a few major breaks including in the "Blutbruderschaft" scene, Hagen's watch and the Alberich/Hagen scene. Why offer this recording, you ask? Despite those flaws this is an absolutely wonderful and unique performance. Margaret Harshaw has been underrepresented in recordings so it is wonderful to have a complete Götterdämemrung Brünnhilde of hers. She sings with amazing security (although the C at the end of the duet is slightly tentative.) Set Svanholm is a robust Siegfried. I was shocked to hear how good his High C was in Act III (a note that usually comes out at best as a gurgle from most heldentenors.) This recording is equally notable for the smaller parts most remarkably the Woglinde of Joan Sutherland (you may know that she was originally being groomed as a dramatic soprano) as well as the Gutrune of Hilde Konetzni and the Third Norn of Amy Shuard. If my opening lines turned you off, it is worth pointing out that there is a lot of music in this opera and very long stretches of smooth sailing. I am sure that many of you will find suffering the flaws a small price to pay for such a remarkable performance.