Magazine article Gramophone

Mozart: Wagner: Mozart Symphony No 40, K550

Magazine article Gramophone

Mozart: Wagner: Mozart Symphony No 40, K550

Article excerpt

Mozart * Wagner [H] Mozart Symphony No 40, K550 Wagner Gotterdammerung (a)--Brunnhilde's Immolation Scene; Dawn, Siegfried's Rhine Journey and Funeral March (a) Anita Valkki sop Halle Orchestra / Sir John Barbirolli Testament mono [F] SBT1508 (66' * ADD) Recorded live at the Town Hall, Manchester, January 21, 1964

John Barbirolli came to Wagner in an age when orchestras were often smaller, pitch lower, and good conductors routinely versed in the art of cossetting singers. As Mike Ashman reminds us in his note, Barbirolli's earliest Wagner recordings were made with such stars of a golden age of Wagner--singing as Lauritz Melchior and Frida Leider.

Had Anita Valkki (1926-2011) been born into such an age, she might have had a longer career singing Wagner. She didn't soar and burn as did the likes of Ludmila Dvorakova and Ursula Schroder--Feinen in that newly hectic age which was the 1960s. She simply did her bit then stepped off the international Wagner treadmill to return to her native Finland.

She first appeared in England in 1961, when Solti engaged her to sing Briinnhilde in a new Covent Garden production of Die Walkiire. (A live BBC transmission is now available--Testament, 4/15). …

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