Wagner: Götterdämmerung - Jones, Jung, Ridderbusch, Mazura, Bode, Kélémen; Boulez. Bayreuth, 1977
Listen to a Sample:
Sopranos who assume the role of Brünnhilde will usually have one opera from the set that fits them better than the rest. More often than not this is Die Walküre since the vocal writing is a little more forgiving (hojotohos notwithstanding.) Gwyneth Jones, however, seems to relish the formidable challenges of the Götterdämmerung Brünnhilde, delivering unparalleled intensity. Given the amount of voice she gives in Act II, I was worried for her stamina in Act III, but she somehow goes into vocal overdrive during the final moments of the Immolation Scene hurling high notes over the massive orchestra with ease. Manfred Jung assumes the role of Siegfried. Although the voice is fresher than it was in the Phillips recording and at times quite pleasing, there is a monochromaticism to both voice and demeanor that makes for some very long monologues. Karl Ridderbusch is a little past his prime but nonetheless brings all of his brooding menace to the role of Hagen. Yvonne Minton is quite welcome in the role of Waltraute, delivering a narrative that is both impressively sung and vivid in its depiction of the end of the gods. The fleet tempos that Pierre Boulez takes in the Phillips release seem relaxed by few clicks of the metronome in this performance. The sound is excellent.