Wagner: Götterdämmerung - Ligendza, Cox, Ridderbusch, Mazura, Neidlinger, Martin; Stein. Bayreuth, 1971
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One of the biggest challenges for any soprano who assumes the role of Brünnhilde is how to unify the naive tomboy in Walküre with the sensual and ultimately vengeful Brünnhilde of Götterdämmerung. For my money, Caterina Ligendza comes as close as any to doing just that. In the last installment of the Ring, she manages to muster enough power to cope with the dramatic demands of Act II while maintaining the integrity of her youthful tone. True, she may not be the force of nature that Birgit Nilsson was, but the vulnerability she brings to the role adds an interesting twist and at no point does her voice buckle under the demands of the orchestration. Jean Cox seems to relish the chances he has to show off his more lyrical singing particularly in his death scene which is actually quite beautiful. Karl Ridderbusch is near perfection as Hagen. His voice, although black, still has a touch of class and glamor to it. His Hagen is more conniving player, than hulking brute. Franz Mazura is heard to great effect as Gunther. By the time the Boulez Ring was recorded his voice was already a bit rough around the edges, which was not the case when this recording was made. The sound is excellent.