Wagner: Siegfried - Hopf, Varnay, Hoffmann, Kraus, Höffgen; Klobucar. Bayreuth, 1964
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It is odd why Hans Hopf's contributions to the world of Wagner haven't been recognized in the same way as other tenors of his era. In this performance of Siegfried, he bring equal parts power and lyricism to a role that requires both of those seemingly diametrically opposed characteristics. More often then not the latter gets sacrificed when the practical consideration of being heard over Wagner's orchestra comes into play. Astrid Varnay had already begun the transition to the mezzo rep at the time of this performance which is somewhat puzzling as she sings with remarkable security including two gleaming high Cs that can even bedevil sopranos in their prime. It is interesting to have Hubert Hoffmann assume the role of the Wanderer after having had in Theo Adam in the previous two operas as their voices have similar timbres. Adam's may have had a little more range of expression and seemed more comfortable with the top, but Hoffmann still distinguishes himself as the elder Wotan, bringing an avuncular gravitas to the role. The sound is very good.