WAGNER GOTTERDAMMERUNG - THE RING CYCLE 180g 6 LP
The most coveted performance of Wagner's legendary epic Ring Cycle was in fact
recorded by Decca in Stereo live at the 1955 Bayreuth Festival. But until now,
that lost performance has remained but a memory.
Thrillingly conducted by Joseph Keilberth (called by Astrid Varnay, "a conductor
with so much love, who was always there for you"), the cycle provides the
opportunity to hear complete for the first time on commercial release the
definitive performances of Astrid Varnay, Josef Greindl and Hermann Uhde.
These live Bayreuth performances were taped by a Decca team led by Peter Andry
and including the noted engineers Kenneth Wilkinson and Roy Wallace, with Gordon
Parry as assistant. Using a new six-channel mixer designed by Wallace, the team
made both stereo and mono recordings of each opera. Three microphones were
placed in the sunken orchestra pit and three were hanged from a lighting bridge
about 20 feet above the stage. "This was brilliant; it worked beautifully,"
remembers Wallace. The company prepared for an expected release, but John
Culshaw, recently returned to Decca, vetoed the project. He disliked "live"
recordings and already had plans for a studio Ring with Solti, which began four
years later. Decca's recording vividly captures in wonderful stereo sound the
unique acoustic and stage/pit balance of the Bayreuth Festival theatre with its
sunken orchestra, in addition to preserving the leading singers from a Wagnerian
golden age in live performance.
Maria von Ilosvay
Georgine von Milinkovic
Joseph Keilberth, conductor
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
Gotterdammerung (Third Day of Stage Festival)