Wagner: Die Walküre

Robert Benson
Classical CD Review (US)

The Adelaide Festival featured the State Opera of South Australia in 2004 performing Wagner's Ring cycle. This overall presentation is considered to be the largest single recording project ever undertaken in Australia made possible by a $5 million grant to the Melba Foundation which produced it.

From the Festival we have Die Walküre in a splendid performance. The 27 featured singers are predominately Australian and are uniformly strong. Stuart Skelton is outstanding as Siegmund (major opera houses should investigate him!), Deborah Reidel's Sieglinde is assured, and John Bröcheler repeats his sensitive Wotan / Wanderer ... The augmented Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by Asher Fisch sounds like a major orchestra and he obviously knows his Wagner ...

For audiophiles, this set is of enormous interest. Produced by Maria Vandamme and Ian Perry, Phil Rowlands was sound engineer in charge of SACD surround sound mix and mastering. Rowland is probably the finest master of his craft around today. He has received many major awards for his recordings ... Performers are in front with an admirable sense of space and presence and no lack of orchestral detail or impact. Those who love Die Walküre surely should investigate this first-class enterprising magnificently recorded performance, an appropriate contemporary supplement to historic older recordings of the work Wagner's masterpiece.The remainder of the Adelaide Ring will be issued before the end of 2007. I look forward to them.