Wagner: Götterdämmerung - Jones, Cox, Ridderbusch, Mazura, Neidlinger; Stein. Bayreuth, 1975
Listen to a Sample:
My first time experiencing Wagner in the theater was about twenty years ago at the Metropolitan Opera. The opera was Götterdämmerung and featured Gwyneth Jones as Brünnhilde. I will never forget the sensation of hearing her voice open up at "Zu neuen Taten." As the evening progressed it seemed as if there was no end to her vocal reserves and needless to say I became an instant Wagnerian. This recording taken about twenty years earlier finds her in even greater voice and she fearlessly (and almost recklessly) plows through the almost-impossible vocal writing of Act II as if no one told her that singing Wagner can be bad for your voice. Jean Cox is a sturdy Siegfried and displays that he even had a respectable high C. Karl Ridderbusch is a formidable Hagen and brings a touch of elegance to the part that you rarely hear. Franz Mazura and Anna Reynolds make equally worthy contributions as Gunther and Waltraute respectively. Although the sound is for the most part very good there are about a dozen moments where the recording will jump about a second. This happens mostly during the first half hour or so of the opera. That said, if you can brace yourself for a few bumps in the road I think you will really enjoy this stunning performance.