Melba Recordings

"... a label of fragrant distinction"

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Wagner: Das Rheingold

01/01/2007
Opera~Opera (Australia)
David Gyger

Lacking the inbuilt lyrical star turns of Die Walküre, Das Rheingold is a considerably more difficult opera to record with distinction.

Melba’s latest release in its immortalisation of the 1998 Adelaide production of Der Ring des Nibelungen by the State Opera of South Australia, the nation’s first fully home-grown staging of the tetralogy, underscores that point at several turns: there are no Stuart Skeltons, Deborah Riedels or Lisa Gasteens to dazzle the ears ...

The sound, as was the case with Melba’s Die Walküre, is stupendous … the massive booklet is … exemplary and actually printed in type large enough to read with ease, unlike the many CD releases these days …

John Wegner’s Alberich starts off a trifle ordinarily, but soon hits a highly impressive stride … he is splendid as the whingeing prisoner and infuriated victim of godly theft he becomes later in the opera.
Christopher Doig’s Loge is more impressive on the CD than in the flesh and Andrew Brunsdon’s Froh leaps briefly out of the ruck of minor gods toward the end for its solid tenor quality and lyric flow. Likewise Liane Keegan’s Erda: as rich and fruity a reading of the role as they come …

There are satisfying moments for the giants of Andrew Collis and David Hibbard, and Alberich’s transformations into monster and toad work reasonably well in the theatre of the mind ...

All round, this is a valuable release for the permanence it lends to the 2004 ground-breaking Adelaide production of the first quarter of the Ring; we look forward with enthusiasm to the completion of the daunting Melba Records project during the first half of this year. Siegfried is scheduled for release next month, and Götterdämmerung will complete the SOSA tetralogy in June.