The first release of the first stereo recording of the work, the historical importance of this set of Wagner's Siegfried is undeniable. Recorded by Decca at the 1955 Bayreuth Festival, this performance directed by Joseph Keilberth was to have been issued as part of the first complete Ring cycle. But persuaded that only a studio recording could do the work justice, Decca decided to shelve Keilberth's performance, a decision that led to Georg Solti recording Siegfried with the Vienna Philharmonic and ultimately to the release of a Ring cycle that many still regard as the finest ever recorded. But aside from its inherent historical value, what's its aesthetic value? While much better than average, Keilberth's Siegfried doesn't challenge the established order.
This legendary Bayreuth Festival production of Wagner’s 'Der Ring des Nibelungen', directed by Harry Kupfer, with designs by Hans Schavernoch, and conducted by Daniel Barenboim, is considered perhaps the finest video recording of these four operas ever made. For their innovative modernist staging, Kupfer and his team turned away from the work’s time of origin and located The Ring at a “road of history”, a meeting-place of past, present and future, which sets the scene for the story’s struggles of power and love. Barenboim’s authoritative yet highly responsive reading of the immense score and the extraordinary performances of the cast help to make this a truly memorable Ring.
La Fura del Baus, famous for their opening ceremony of the Olympic games in Barcelona and opera stagings in Salzburg, Ruhrtriennale, etc., use in their groundbreaking Ring 3D computer projections that evoke computer games, organic structures built of athletic performers that recall the "Cirque du soleil". “…excellent orchestral playing and decent sound to match…a striking and often absorbing experiment” (Gramophone).
"The central part of the "Ring" tetralogy is precisely this: a hero has been created who would actually have had all the attributes of freedom, but nobody remembered to tell him…" (Patrice Chéreau). "One can only marvel at how enthrallingly Chéreau has made visible every ramification of this malignant idyll and bitter comedy. In its faithful service to this fabulously polished staging Brian Large's video direction is a model" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).
In the words of the prestigious German weekly 'Die Zeit,' the stage production of Wagner's 'Rheingold' and 'Walküre' by La Fura dels Baus 'quite possibly shows us the path that musical theater will be taking in the future.' There's no doubt about it: the Catalan city of Valencia is setting new accents in 21st-century opera not only with its spectacular new theater designed by Santiago Calatrava, but also with its visually transfixing production of Wagner's 'Ring' staged by Carlos Padrissa and his theater group La Fura dels Baus. The Barcelona-based Fura blends music, dance, acrobatics and technology into unforgettable stage events of sometimes raw but always captivating power…
The Metropolitan Opera Ring is part of a series of Wagnerian productions undertaken there that attempt to restore a Romantic realism congruent with the music, while using modern stage techniques, [and] for those who have dreamed of seeing the saga look like their visions of mythology, the results may be worth it. (The Metropolitan Opera Guide)
A traditional production with dragons, toads, and a splendid rainbow bridge all present and correct. Wotan's Farewell from the end of Die Walküre is particularly touching, and Jessye Norman is magnificent as Sieglinde (just listen to her cry of "O hehrstes Wunder!" in Act Three of Walküre!) (Presto Classical)
The most famous, the most performed, the most thrilling, and the most recorded opera cycle in music history. Filmed at the world-famous Metropolitan Opera House in New York, in high definition – the award winning Robert Lepage production. Featuring Bryn Terfel as Wotan – universally recognized as the finest bass-baritone – and Wotan – of his generation. Also starring Deborah Voigt as Brunnhilde, and star tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Siegmund.