Wagner: Die Walküre

Christian Ekowski
Critic Service (Germany)

What a great and wonderful recording! This recording definitely has advantages over others: its recording technique allows for an amazingly clear, natural and voluminous surround sound. This gives this Walküre, from the State Opera of South Australia, an authentic and appropriately live feeling.

More surprising then is the musical interpretation, especially to the European ear. This is a straightforward interpretation by the performers ... No passage from the score is over-analysed or stylistically over-emphasised, as in “Attention! Here comes the Drum Roll!”: Wagner’s opera is simply performed for its beauty and drama. In this interpretation, the orchestra and singers are exceptional - the orchestra is quite extraordinary. The aesthetically beautiful tone colours of the brass and especially the woodwinds, capture the listener’s curiosity. The brass sound triumphant but do not merely increase the orchestral volume – they also enhance the colourful sound palette. All singers have true Wagnerian voices, with strength and stamina in their voice production, as well as great breath control and strength of expression …

Conductor Asher Fisch does a few things differently, interpretation-wise, which you can accept without any problems. The Prelude to Act I is slow and relaxed, which means Siegmund is not totally exhausted when he arrives at Hunding’s house. Nothing is heavy in his interpretation, which is nonetheless still balanced and weighty. ... The finale of Walküre is moving for every listener because of its tragedy. ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’ is extraordinarily elegant. The Valkyries do not fall back heavily in the saddle with each bar, instead they storm forward and take in the air.

In conclusion: This recording encompasses the ideals of beauty and naturalness one would expect of Wagner’s Walküre. And the booklet – with texts in German, English and French [available for download] – is bound like a book, with attractive printing and introductory essays: an extraordinary piece of jewellery.

Read the original web review (in German)