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.'


Anonymous 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.

Anonymous 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!