Der Ring des Nibelungen
Live recording in stereo from
Festspielhaus Bayreuth
1967
Conductor: Karl Böhm
Chor und Orchester der
Bayreuther Festspiele
Das Rheingold
1967
Wotan Theo Adam
Donner Gerd Nienstedt
Froh Hermin Esser
Loge Wolfgang Windgassen
Alberich Gustav Neidlinger
Mime Erwin Wohlfahrt
Fasolt Martti Talvela
Fafner Kurt Böhme
Fricka Annelies Burmeister
Freia Anja Silja
Erda Vera Soukupova
Woglinde Dorothea Siebert
Wellgunde Helga Dernesch
Flo▀hilde Ruth Hesse
Walküre
1967
Siegmund James King
Sieglinde Leonie Rysanek
Wotan Theo Adam
Brünnhilde Birgit Nilsson
Hunding Gerd Nienstedt
Fricka Annelies Burmeister
Gerhilde Danica Mastilovic
Ortlinde Helga Dernesch
Waltraute Gertraud Hopf
Schwertleite Sieglinde Wagner
Helmwige Liane Synek
Siegrune Annelies Burmeister
Grimgerde Elisabeth Schärtel
Ro▀wei▀e Sona Cervená
Siegfried
1967
Siegfried Wolfgang Windgassen
Mime Erwin Wohlfahrt
Brünnhilde Birgit Nilsson
Wanderer Theo Adam
Alberich Gustav Neidlinger
Fafner Kurt Böhme
Erda Vera Soukupova
Waldvogel Erika Köth
Götterdämmerung
1967
Brünnhilde Birgit Nilsson
Siegfried Wolfgang Windgassen
Hagen Josef Greindl
Alberich Gustav Neidlinger
Gunther Thomas Stewart
Gutrune Ludmilla Dvoráková
Waltraute Martha Mödl
Woglinde Dorothea Siebert
Wellgunde Helga Dernesch
Flo▀hilde Sieglinde Wagner
1. Norne Marga Höffgen
2. Norne Annelies Burmeister
3. Norne Anja Silja
Philips, 446 057-2 14 CDs ADD
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Review by Constantijn Blondel

This recording of the Ring-cycle is my personal favorite. Böhm is a genious in managing to bring unbearable tension at a speedy pace. His reading is warm and totally integrated. There is never a moment when one wonders what sense a particular passage makes in the context of the rest. It is also remarkable that the orchestra makes virtually no mistakes even though they have to play the complex notes at a high pace. The combination of Böhm's interpretation with the great singers gives on the experience that the voices are speaking rather than singing...it's in my opinion the closest one can come to the unreachable ideal of realizing a music drama on stage.

The cast is all-star. I have read that some people think of Theo Adam as a bit wobbly, but personally it never occured to me. He is firm and brings out - as no other Wotan I know - the true nobility of the God, instead of the more conventional 'authority and anguish'.

Birgit Nilsson is my only true Brünnhilde. Her incredible cleaving voice gives the part everything it needs and her great stamina makes for the most convincing immolation scene I know of. She IS Brünnhilde, in every aspect.

Wolfgang Windgassen doubles as first Loge, which he sings as a character who seems to regard the crises of the Gods as 'rather funny and amusing', and of course his main role is Siegfried. I have to confess that I'm a great fan of Windgassen's and I know that his voice was in even better shape on, for example, the recording of the cycle by Clemens Krauss (1953), but the 'thinning' of his voice is matched by a very strong characterization. It seems to me that Nilsson and Windgassen brought out the very best and more in each other. I love Lauritz Melchior, but Windgassen stays the best Siegfried in my opinion, youthful and full of bravoura.

Erwin Wohlfahrt is a neurotic Mime with his maniac laughing at the end of Act I. Two other stars are James King's Siegmund and Leonie Rysanek's Sieglinde. James King is in my opinion ideal as Siegmund. He possesses a lyrical voice which also has a little heroic undertone that works, all in all, great. His 'Wälse Wälse' is also the longest and most impressive I know of. Leonie Rysanek also has the ideal voice for Sieglinde. It's warm, powerful with sometimes a slight undertone of hysteria (which suits the part I think) and I play the entire third scene of Act I a lot, just to hear the two of them sing (not to mention the delirious orchestral ending of the act).

Josef Greindl is in good voice as Hagen. Dark and powerful and sometimes terrifying. Gustav Neidlinger is in my opinion the best Alberich ever. He is also one of the few Alberichs that really sings the part!

All in all, this is a not-to-be-missed recording with nothing but high-points. The only point of criticism is maybe Vera Soupokova as Erda, who has a terrible voice, but this is minor.