Melba Recordings

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Wagner: Die Walküre

The Australian (Australia)
Murray Black
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This first instalment from the 2004 Adelaide Ring Cycle is also the first recording of Die Walküre on Super Audio Compact Disc. The cost of SACD equipment means that most people won’t hear it in this format but the discs can be played on normal CD and [universal] DVD players. … The clarity and detail of SACD is amazing - orchestral and stage sounds not obvious on CD came through clearly - and the surround-sound had an overwhelming impact. Regardless of the format, this recording is an extraordinary achievement.

Producers Maria Vandamme and Ian Perry and engineer Phil Rowlands have created a soundscape that is spacious and revealing but also has seductive warmth and gripping immediacy. Stuart Skelton’s Siegmund and Lisa Gasteen’s Brünnhilde are outstanding. Skelton is a remarkable heldentenor, whose ringing top and resounding baritonal bottom make him convincing as both valiant hero and ardent lover. Gasteen’s beautiful, richly textured voice is a marvel ...As Wotan, John Bröcheler … displays immense character and stamina …Deborah Riedel is a passionate Sieglinde, Richard Green (Hunding) and Elizabeth Campbell (Fricka) offer solid support and the eight Valkyries make a dramatic team.

Conductor Asher Fisch takes an expansive view … he has the measure of Wagner’s long-breathed legato lines …the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is splendid, sustaining playing that is polished and tightly focused