Melba Recordings

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Wagner: Die Walküre

15/06/2006
The Age 'Green Guide' (Australia)
Michael Shmith
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This splendid, almost opulent recording of Die Walküre is the first of a complete set of Wagner's tetralogy, Der Ring des Nibelungen, taken live from the State Opera of South Australia production - the so-called Australian Ring - performed in Adelaide in late 2004 ... the sound on this recording is fine, more focused than it was in the theatre. Asher Fisch's conducting - strong, urgent, lyrical and passionate - is almost chamber-like in its intensity, yet never shirks the big moments, such as the stormy prelude to Act I or riding Valkyries or Wotan's farewell. The cast, almost without exception, gives performances of vocal brilliance and dramatic strength - the benefit of months of rehearsal and committed performance. Lisa Gasteen's Brünnhildeis magnificent, with a bright, ringing top; John Bröcheler's dark, introspective Wotan ... is deeply thought; the Australian tenor Stuart Skelton is, quite simply, one of the best Siegmunds on disc and ably, beautifully, partnered by Deborah Riedel's Sieglinde.