Wagner: Siegfried

Graham Strahle
The Weekend Australian (Australia)

Siegfried is the third release from Melba Recordings, in hybrid Super Audio CD, from the 2004 Adelaide Ring. Long in the making, it is entirely worth the wait. Like Die Walküre and Das Rheingold before it, the performances and sound quality are both so marvellous that it is difficult to fathom that it was edited from live takes. Engineer Phil Rowlands wins many plaudits for creating an involving, enveloping sound that not even those in the Adelaide Festival Theatre’s front row could have enjoyed. But the real triumph belongs to the tremendous cast of principals and superbly focused playing by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra under conductor Asher Fisch. Siegfried needs a tenor of superlative ability to carry the main role of a hero who defeats the bad tempered, bickering giants. Gary Rideout’s voice is under pressure at times, but his valiant struggles against Richard Greager’s snarly Mime, John Bröcheler’s powerful Wanderer and John Wegner’s commanding Alberich make him even more endearingly human. Lisa Gasteen is glorious as Brünnhilde. The recording has great drive and momentum.