Magazine article Opera Canada

The Golden Ring. (DVDs)

Magazine article Opera Canada

The Golden Ring. (DVDs)

Article excerpt

The BBC documentary on Sir Georg Sold's recording of Wagner's Ring, plus bonus audio highlights featuring Nilsson, Windgassen, Fischer-Dieskau, Frick, Watson. Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Chorus, Sir Georg Solti, conductor. Decca: 071-153-9 (1 DVD: 88 minutes plus 69 minutes of additional audio). *****

Directed by the distinguished English producer Humphrey Burton, this 1965 BBC television documentary--a co-production with ORF (Austrian Television) --focuses on the final chapter of Decca's historic studio recording of Wagner's tetralogy. In addition to a five-camera team from ORE (which taped over 40 hours of material from the Gotterdammerung sessions in Vienna), the BBC provided a second crew to film interview material as well as various behind-the-scenes shots. In addition to extended excerpts from the opera, the final documentary includes many segments in the Decca control room, where the project was masterminded by the award-winning English music producer, John Culshaw.

Central to the success of the overall project, however, are the sumptuous playing of the Vienna Philharmonic and the taut, energized conducting of Georg Solti (his knighthood came many years later). Although many complete Rings have followed since the 1960s, Solti's visceral reading remains one of the benchmarks by which all other recordings are measured. …

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