Wagner: Die Walküre

Michael Scott Rohan
BBC Music Magazine (UK)
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In 2004 South Australian State Opera staged the country's first home-grown Ring, a popular and critical hit, both for Elke Neidhardt's vivid if sometimes campy production ... and for international quality musical values. Now Melba is releasing the recorded performances as the first ever Ring on SACD; and this first instalment largely justifies the excitement.

The acclaimed young Israeli Asher Fisch provides a strong lynchpin, his tempos expansive and sweeping, yet generally maintaining the tension and momentum so essential to the Ring. He's well matched by the spirited Adelaide orchestra and an almost entirely Australian cast, headed by Stuart Skelton and Deborah Riedel's exceptional Volsung twins. Skelton's Siegmund blends the lyrical and heroic compellingly ... and Riedel's passionate Sieglinde is one of the best on record ... Lisa Gasteen makes a more exciting Brünnhilde than at Covent Garden, amply powerful, thoroughly committed ...

The CD recording, too, is decent; but 5.1 channel surround-sound and SACD add another dimension entirely, a startling sense of space and detail, theatrical ambience and orchestral sound ... this is the most recommendable of recent Walküres, and whets the appetite for the complete Ring

VERY highly recommended!

SOUND: ***** (5 stars) PERFORMANCE: **** (4 stars)