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Wagner: Das Rheingold

The Opera Critic (New Zealand)
Michael Sinclair

Hard on the heels of its successful recording of the State Opera of South Australia's production of Die Walküre comes the prologue to the Ring, Das Rheingold. Like Die Walküre this recording is the first to have been made in Super Audio format (SACD) ... there is much to enjoy ... there are many moments of majesty and drama ...

John Wegner's portrayal of Alberich is one of the strengths of this recording, renouncing love at the end of the scene with full-blooded intensity.

 As we move from the depths of the Rhine to the world of the Gods we are introduced to the remainder of the cast. The State Opera of South Australia had assembled a cast of mainly Australian and New Zealand singers, many of whom were singing these roles for the first time. On the whole they work together exceptionally well to bring to life the anger and passion in the score and there are many scenes where the drama is well conveyed. After all this is very much an ensemble piece and the fact that no one particularly stands out is not necessarily a weakness in the recording. Of particular note are Elizabeth Campbell's imperious Fricka, Richard Greager's sinewy Mime, Liane Keegan's worldly Erda and Andrew Collis' well-characterised Fasolt.
The major overseas import comes in the form of John Bröcheler as Wotan. He has a rather grainy voice, which suits the gruff side of the role ...
[T]he recording itself ... once again uses the Super Audio format to stunning effect. The engineers have even been able to weave in the sound of the water curtain which filled the entire proscenium of the Adelaide Festival Theatre, bringing an unexpected reality to the opening scene.

The 2 CD set is once again accompanied by a lavish book with the usual libretto (in German and English) and essays on the work. There are also some photos from the production and an article about the presentation of the Ring in Adelaide, both of which are welcome inclusions ...

Das Rheingold ... [forms] an important part of the cycle as a whole, and [is] a legacy of the Australian and New Zealand singers who participated in this wonderful production.
The remainder of the cycle is planned for release later this year ...