Magazine article Opera Canada

Der Ring Des Nibelungen: Hans Knappertsbusch

Magazine article Opera Canada

Der Ring Des Nibelungen: Hans Knappertsbusch

Article excerpt

DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN

Hans Knappertsbusch

(1956 Bayreuth Festival)

Orfeo d'or C 660 513Y (13 CDs)

Although this live recording from the 1956 Bayreuth Festival has been available before, this is the first authorized release and the first to make full use of the original master tapes from Bavarian Radio. It is also one of the first releases in a series of historic issues on Orfeo that, according to Bayreuth Festival Director Wolfgang Wagner, "will eventually include several artistically important and high-quality live recordings from Bavarian Radio."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The cast for this Ring is largely the same as for the previous year, when it was conducted by Keilberth, but with two notable exceptions. Wolfgang Windgassen stepped in at the last minute for an ailing Ramon Vinay and sang both Siegmund and Siegfried; and Astrid Varnay stepped in for an ailing Jean Madiera to sing both the Third Norn and Brunnhilde in Gotterdammerung.

Apart from some sensational singing, the epic grandeur of Hans Knappertsbusch's conducting is reason to own this set. "Some critics," Astrid Varnay wrote in her memoirs, "have accused Knappertsbusch of dragging Wagner's music. …

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