Friday, 5 June 2009

Wagner's Ring

A while back I decided that I really ought to get better acquainted with Wagner's Ring. Good intentions apart, this is no small thing as we're talking about four operas with the shortest by a long, long way at 153 minutes. So, for my birthday, I received the Barenboim version from Bayreuth in 1991 on DVD. And so far, having watched and listened to Das Rheingold, 'the preliminary evening of the stage-festival drama', albeit in sections, I was bowled over, dramatically as well as musically. Die Walkure, the next in the cycle, is a mere 237 minutes but I'm really looking forward to it. I wonder if this is the best way of getting to know an opera, especially if the opportunities of seeing it live are limited. And at just over £50 for the lot, it's a bargain.

The question is what do you listen to after a hefty diet of Wagner? I appreciate this counsel, 'After Wagner you need to clean your teeth with Rossini.'

4 comments:

seanthebaptist said...

Hi Geoff
Good for you. Barenboim's set is my favourite of the modern recordings and that Bayreuth staging I think is also good, perferable to the realistic, dwarves and all Met versions. The singing is good quality, especially Tomlinson, Evans and Jerusalem - all at their peak. I heard them at Covent Garden a few years after this recording. I am not sure about the Siegmund and Sieglinde in Walkure though. You have delights in store, not least Act 3 of of Siegfried.

seanthebaptist said...

Oh, and my fave Wagner quote was from George Bernard Shaw, to the effect that Wagner has some wonderful moments, but some terrible half hours - wrong but funny.

Geoff Colmer said...

Hi Sean! Good to hear from you. I like the Bernard Shaw! Tomlinson was a regular singer with Opera North when I joined. His Rigoletto was terrific - what a voice! I'll keep you informed of progress. My only slight niggle is that I can feel another obsession coming on.

Craig said...

I'd suggest Berstein's Kaddish, or Bruch's Kol Nedrie

Alternatively, a few years back for an Advent service we produced a number of CDs ... we suggested that the congregation might like to listen to them at home throughout the season as a preparation to Christmas. They contained 30mins of silence ... I have a few copies left over and you never know might be a relief after all that Wagner!