Wagner: Die Walküre

John P McKelvey
American Record Guide (US)

This is a lavish, beautifully produced, packaged, illustrated, and annotated release, with full texts and translations. It was obviously expensive to produce and is full-price, quoted at about $78US by one on-line supplier. For four Super Audio CDs that is not unreasonable. It costs no more than the Testament release under Keilberth, which was recorded in 1955. It is worth the price, which is more than I could say for the Testament. It appears to be one instalment of a complete Ring.                                                 

The Adelaide Symphony in this production employs 129 musicians, including several off-stage players. It is a world-class group, and its ensemble playing and instrumental solos are absolutely first rate ... The orchestras of Vienna, Berlin, Dresden sound a little less well-drilled ... Asher Fisch is an Israeli conductor with wide experience in opera as well as symphonic repertoire. His leadership is precise, his tempos mostly unhurried. He does not drown his singers in torrents of raucous orchestral sound. He offers a well-formed, clear and precise sonic framework ... he never makes a wrong move or misses a trick, either.

The singers are mostly unfamiliar internationally, except John Bröcheler ... Stuart Skelton turns in an excellent performance as Siegmund. His voice is somewhat baritonal in character, and his diction and intonation are flawless. He hangs onto the repeated calls “Walse? Walse!” for an incredibly long time ... Deborah Riedel as Sieglinde is hard to fault also, and Richard Green is imposing and threatening as Hunding. Lisa Gasteen is a sharp and acidic Brünnhilde ... As Fricka, Elizabeth Campbell sings well ... The Valkyries are adequate.

So we have an excellent orchestra, a good conductor ... The SACD sound is first class, with stable stereo imaging and clean, solid bass response. Did I forget to mention that these were recorded in the presence of an audience? The audience is dead silent until the ends of the acts, when there is a discreet and quickly faded round of applause. This set is definitely recommended for those who seek a digital recording that is musically sound and sonically excellent ...