Wagner: Siegfried - Windgassen, Hotter, Varnay, Klein, Kraus; Konwitschny. London, 1959
Listen to a Sample:
Wolfgang Windgassen was at the absolute peak of his powers when this performance of Siegfried took place and brings a tone that is still youthful in nature with the experience of having sung this role around the world with some of the finest conductors and singers in the history of the Ring. Hans Hotter was a little further along in his career but still in possession of a voice that was both magisterial and approachable. His performance is remarkable for how differently he paints the wizened and world-wary Wanderer from the brash and blustery Wotan of Das Rheingold (excuse the alliteration. 14 hours of listening to Wagner can do that). Peter Klein as Mime is appropriately wiry while maintaining enough restraint to allow the audience to feel a little bit of sympathy for the dwarf. Astrid Varnay's Brünnhilde is well worth the wait and is successful both with the vocal acrobatics of this short role as well as the lyricism of "Ewig war ich." To that point, she is aided by Franz Konwitschny who seems to understand how to accompany a singer even when dealing with the unruly forces of a Wagner orchestra. The sound is excellent.