Wagner: Götterdämmerung (In English) - Hunter, Remedios, Grant, Bailey, Hammond-Stroud; Goodall. ENO, 1971
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Götterdämmerung is perhaps the most symphonic of all of the operas of the Ring. It contains the most orchestral sections and with this opera Wagner takes the role of the orchestra as "greek chorus" to a whole new level. The pacing of Reginald Goodall's tempi highlight the orchestral mastery of the score giving the listener a chance to luxuriate in the shape of a melissmatic passage or the weight of the formidable brass section. At times this comes at the price of dramatic intensity particularly in the second Act, but fortunately he had singers at his disposal that had the technique to sing long phrases along with the musical commitment to the line of the phrase. For me the real standout of this performance is the Siegfried of Alberto Remedios. His voice has the right mix of lyricism and heft. More than that he sings with intelligence, never giving in to the temptation to push his voice over the orchestra. Rita Hunter is simply a force of nature as Brunnhilde. Hearing her sing the role, one can unmistakably hear the link from Wagner to Bellini in the way she spins Wagner's long vocal lines (rendered all the longer thanks to Goodall.) As Hagen we have Clifford Grant in the place of Auge Haugland. His voice may be less striking than Haugland's but he brings superb diction to the part as well as a well-rounded characterization as opposed to the stock representations that are all too common. The great difference of this recording from the studio recording is the luxury of having none other than Norman Bailey as Gunther. However, if you really want to understand the miracle of Goodall's performance, listen to the clip below of the finale to the immolation scene. It is unique among interpretations. The sound is very good.