Wagner: Götterdämmerung Act III, Rheinfahrt; Tristan und Isolde Prelude and Liebstod - Nilsson, Windgassen, Frick; Solti. London 1963
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This recording, from the BBC Proms in 1963, celebrated the 150th anniversary of Wagner's birth with an absolutely stunning concert. Captured in gloriously pristine sound, Georg Solti brings his unparalleled insight into Wagner's greatest operas to the podium. The first half of the concert features a rousing rendition of Siegfried's Journey down the Rhine, and then a Tristan Prelude and Liebestod that seems almost frozen in time. He is aided by the exemplary Isolde of Birgit Nilsson, who reappears to give one of the best renditions of the Immolation Scene I have ever heard in the concert's second half. Also on hand for the last act of the Ring Cycle are Wolfgang Windgassen, in fine form for Siegfried's crucial narration, Gottlob Frick's dark and sinister Hagen, and Marie Collier, lending real gravitas to Gutrune's few moments in the sun. The presence of Gwyneth Jones in the middle of a beguiling trio of Rheinmaidens is the cherry on the top of this delectable Wagnerian dish.