Wagner: Götterdämmerung

Barney Zwartz
The Sunday Age (Australia) (9 December 2007)
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Melba’s ambitious Ring Cycle, taken from the 2004 South Australian Opera production, comes to a triumphant conclusion with the fourth and final opera, the apocalyptic Götterdämmerung on four CDs. Many strands come together: the broad musical understanding of conductor Asher Fisch; some powerful and strongly delineated singing from Duccio dal Monte as Hagen and Jonathan Summers as Gunther; and a characteristic cameo by John Wegner (marvellous throughout the Ring as Alberich). Timothy Mussard (Siegfried), Joanna Cole (Gutrune), and an array of strong women in the minor roles add to the riches. But the main reason is the magnificent Brünnhilde of Lisa Gasteen, displaying superb vocal control, effortless power and, at times, ravishing beauty. As with the previous three sets, the sound is superb.

Key track: The famous immolation scene, when Brünnhilde casts herself on Siegfried’s funeral pyre. Gasteen is simply sublime.