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Der Ring Des Nibelungen
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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen
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Nearly 40 years ago, a small regional company in the Pacific Northwest decided to scale arguably the greatest height of operatic
repertoire, Wagner s Ring. That amazing feat launched a legendary tradition that has become universally known as the Seattle Ring,
a destination for the cycle s legions of devotees from around the world. Now, the fabled history of the Seattle Ring has been captured
for commercial release for the very first time! The Seattle Ring is luxuriously packaged in a sturdy box, containing 14 CDs in color
cardboard wallets and five 100-page perfect-bound books one for each of the Ring s four librettos, in original German with English
translations, plus a commemorative four-color booklet containing essays by Speight Jenkins and numerous photos documenting the
2013 Seattle Ring.
Like a towering fir tree that survives after the primeval forest around it has vanished, the Seattle Opera s production of
Wagner s Ring Cycle now stands alone as the only traditional depiction of the epic music drama on the American stage. --The Associated Press
Top customer reviews
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The singing is adequate, barely more. Rheingold starts with the worst trio of Rhinemaidens I have ever heard in a recording. Alberich is okay, but makes little impression in any of his appearances in the Seattle Ring. The transition to Valhalla brings us to some fine singing from Stephanie Blythe but Greer Grimsley barely understands what Wotan is all about. He has some good moments in Walkure, but makes nothing of his appearances in Siegfried. The basses are forgettable, the worst I have ever heard, regardless of whether they are singing Fasolt, Fafner, Hunding, or Hagen. Loge lacks the sound of the intellectual schemer, so his impact is not what we want. Dennis Petersen's Mime, on the other hand, is fine, and he is especially impressive in Siegfried where his role is much more central. Indeed, most of the best singing in this cycle comes from the tenors. In addition to Dennis Petersen, there is Stefan Vinke as Siegfried, and these two tenors make the first two acts of Siegfried among the most listenable parts of the Seattle Ring. Vinke's Siegfried is heroic and he definitely has the voice for the role. But his singing is often rough and unfinished. He also has the very bad habit of holding some high notes beyond what is scored. The worst example is the notorious high C that he attempts in the third act of Gotterdammerung. Perhaps he momentarily thought that he was singing "Di quella pira"! The Siegmund, Stuart Skelton, has the same bad habit. His cries of Walse in the first act monologue in Walkure are interminable and pointless, sheer exhibitionism. But he is on the whole a fine Siegmund. Too bad the same can't be said for his sister-bride.
Another reviewer here mentions the ugly high C that Brunnhilde, Alwyn Mellor, sings in the duet at very end of Siegfried. It is very ugly indeed, and the first time I heard it I could swear that it sounded like Siegfried joined her in that high C! Mellor is okay in Walkure and wakes somewhat radiantly in Act 3 of Siegfried, but it's downhill from that point on, to that horrible high C, and then throughout the whole of Gotterdammerung where her singing is barely acceptable. Indeed, there is little fine singing in Gotterdammerung - except for Vinke and Stephanie Blythe's Waltraute. But there is little wonder in this Ring cycle, despite the striking visual qualities. When Vinke reaches the end of his narrative and remembers waking Brunnhilde, there is almost no sense of surprise or ecstasy in his singing. And that pretty much sums this entire Ring cycle: there is little wonder or ecstasy in it. Those tubas surely quashed any wonder that the conductor might have wanted to communicate. I will call it the Tuba Ring! Despite my mostly negative comments, I cannot give it less than 3 stars. It is the Ring, after all, the greatest work in all opera! I give it 3 stars for effort and for the color photos.