Melba Recordings

"... a label of fragrant distinction"

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ASHER FISCH WAGNER Der Ring des Nibelungen Highlights

Otago Daily Times (NZ)
Geoff Adams

Israeli conductor Asher Fisch conducted these forces in 2004 in an ambitious Australian performance of the Wagner Ring Cycle – three operas (Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung) and two and a half hours of operatic prelude called Das Rheingold. Melba’s fine recordings were the first in surround sound super audio as well as crystal-clear two channels and earned worldwide acclaim.

“Sensationally recorded...the best-sounding cycle on the market to date, bar none”, Gramophone (UK) decided. 

It is no surprise that this Australian triumph now becomes available in highlights. It is still a total of two and a half hours of splendid music recorded in remarkably fine detail and balance between singers and orchestra, with a thrilling ambiance overall. The singers are a very strong cast, with both John Brocheler (as Wotan) and Lisa Gasteen (as Brünnhilde) superb in their roles. Turn the volume up to enjoy all the performances; you need to anyway, since the recording level seems low. Probably to avoid muddying of sounds by dynamic compression.

Hear, hear!

Take a bow, Maestro Fisch, for keeping Wagner beautifully in place, giving us a Ring which we must respect but also can almost feel the human emotions of the cast, rather than just admire the dramatic scale of a mythical epic – “the beginning and end of the world”, as Wagner told Liszt.

Of course, Melba includes its deluxe packaging with a 128-page booklet, librettos etc. The highlights are well chosen, with, of course, ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ included.

Applaud: Spectacular sound; deserves many accolades.