Magazine article Gramophone

Wagner: Das Rheingold

Magazine article Gramophone

Wagner: Das Rheingold

Article excerpt

Wagner Das Rheingold Matthias Goerne bar                      Wotan Oleksandr Pushniak bar                  Dormer Charles Reid ten                          Froh Kim Begley ten                            Loge Kwangchul Yountess                      Fasolt Stephen Milling bass                    Fafner Peter Sidhom bar                      Alberich David Cangelosi ten                       Mime Michelle DeYoung mez                    Fricka Anna Samuil sop                          Freia Deborah Humble mez                        Erda Eri Nakamura sop                      Woglinde Aurhelia Varak mez                   Wellgunde Hermine Haselbock mez               Flosshilde 

Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra / Jaap van Zweden Naxos Opera Classics [S] [2] 8 660374/5; [F] [Blu-Ray] NBD0049 (154' * DDD * 24-bit/96kHz * DTS-HD MA5.1 & PCM stereo * S)

Recorded live at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, January 22 & 24, 2015

Following a collection of historic Metropolitan Opera broadcasts and the taking-over of the soundtracks from the four-director Stuttgart anniversary cycle, Naxos now starts its third Ring. Taken from concerts by Jaap van Zweden's Hong Kong Philharmonic (there's Blu-ray Audio as well), this Rheingold, despite some effective casting and a rich-sounding natural balance, is a curate's egg of a performance.

On the plus side, the Hong Kong Philharmonic sound fully up for the occasion and have the stamina for this demanding piece. Van Zweden, in what is apparently quite a small hall, takes care never to cover his voices. He enjoys quieter passages--such as the colour and intricacy of Wagner's wind commentary in Loge's taunting of the gods' growing old, or Mime's narration--but is not always so sure-footed in the more heroic moments or the often vicious irony that governs the humour of this text. He also has a tendency to prepare for each new melodic idea or theme by holding back the end of the preceding music, as if delayed by an awkward page-turn in the score.

Matthias Goerne sings Wotan beautifully, with much baritonal sophistication, predictable (from an experienced Lieder recitalist) care for words and able negotiation of trickier moments. …

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