Melba Recordings

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ASHER FISCH WAGNER Der Ring des Nibelungen Highlights

Classical CD Review (US)
Robert Benson

The 2004 Australian Opera production of Wagner's Ring, the first fully staged production in that country, has received enthusiastic reviews, and for good reason. It is a powerful, solid presentation of Wagner's masterpiece. The orchestra, under Asher Fisch's inspired conducting, plays beautifully, and the cast is superior to what is heard in many opera houses today. Particularly outstanding are Lisa Gasteen's Brünnhilde, John Bröcheler's Wotan, Stuart Skelton's Siegmund, Gary Rideout's Siegfried and Deborah Riedel's Sieglinde. All sing with vocal security and interpretive insight, and would be welcomed in any major opera house. These 2 well-filled-disks are welcome for those who don't care to invest in the entire set. It also would be a welcome addition to those who have many other recordings of The Ring. Of necessity, we have a few "bleeding chunks" where fadeouts are necessary, but we do have many of the most important sections: including Rheingold's opening and close, from Walküre we have the love duet, Battle Cry and Wotan's Farewell, the opening and closing scenes from Siegfried, the Rhine Journey and Funeral Music, and the Immolation Scene from Götterdammerung. This is a deluxe presentation in every way, with a handsome 128-page booklet containing pictures and bios of all of artists involved, and photos of the actual production which are impressive. Texts are provided for all of the music included in this set, in German and English. Recommended! And mention should be made of audio quality—it is rich, resonant and well-balanced, with plenty of impact to satisfy audiophiles. Recommended!