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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen / Janowski, Norman, Jerusalem, Dresden Staatskapelle

Wagner / Janowwski
Release Date: 08/07/2012 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 915482   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Wagner
Performer:  Jessye NormanKurt MollSiegfried JerusalemYvonne Minton,   ... 
Conductor:  Marek Janowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle DresdenDresden State Opera Chorus
Number of Discs: 14 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Review of earlier release of this set:

Here's a true and desirable bargain. This, the first digitally recorded cycle to appear on CD, now 13 years ago, has always had a great deal to commend it even at full price. Now at the budget level, it becomes even more attractive. One of its most telling assets is the actual recording, still the most natural, clear and most sensitively balanced available. Then it has the Dresden Staatskapelle playing with the utmost beauty from start to finish - try the start of Act 3 of Gotterdammerung - and with lean power when that's called for. There's no feeling, as with some of its predecessors or successors, that the orchestral sound is being artificially boosted: voices and players are in
Read more an ideal relationship. Which is not to say that such purple passages as the Magic Fire Music, Ride of the Valkyries, Rhine Journey and Funeral March want anything in visceral excitement.

Janowski conducts a direct, dramatic interpretation, concerned throughout with forward movement. His clear-sighted conducting, based on textural clarity, conveys theatrical excitement from start to finish without fuss or attempts at portentous readings. Janowski sees the cycle more as the culmination of what has gone before in the nineteenth century rather than as a new art. All this makes it an ideal introduction to the Ring for any young collector, who can later go on to more philosophically inclined interpretations. Even I, after very long Wagnerian duty, found myself again enthralled by these recordings.

The casts are by and large excellent. Das Rheingold is dominated by three central performances - Nimsgern's vibrant, articulate Alberich, Schreier's wonderfully vital, strikingly intelligent and articulate Loge and Adam's experienced Wotan. But Fricka, Giants and Rhinemaidens are all well cast, and the whole performance grips one's attention from start to finish as the kaleidoscopic drama unfolds. Die Walkare introduces us to Norman's involving if not wholly idiomatic Sieglinde and, even better, the youthful Jerusalem's near-ideal Siegmund, forthright and sincere, not forgetting Moil's granite Hunding. Adam is so authoritative, so keen with the text, so inside his part that an occasional unsteadiness can be overlooked. With Altmeyer's Briinnhilde we come to the one drawback of the set. Though in this and the succeeding operas, we are thankful for such clear, clean and youthful tone, her reading is unformed and one"-dimensional, lacking the essential insights of a Varnay or Behrens. The other Valkyries need to be mentioned because they include singers such as Studer, soon to go on to greater things; as such they stand out among recorded broods.

In the title role in Siegfried Kollo gives one of his most attractive portrayals on disc, full of thoughtful diction poised on clear-cut tone. Schreier misses nothing in his interpretation of the dissembling, wily Mime, Adam is at his very best as the wise, old Wanderer, and the smaller parts are well catered for. In Gotterdammerung, Salminen is a commanding, often subtle Hagen, though inclined to bark in his call, Necker a splendid Gunther. Kollo is here harder pressed than in the previous work, and inclined to force, but as ever his musical singing compensates for the faults. Altmeyer fails to dominate as she should, but is never less than adequate, sometimes more than that. Again the smaller parts, especially Rhinemaidens, led by Popp, are well taken.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this Ring to anyone wanting a reasonably priced introduction to the cycle. Even at a higher level, it has much going for it in comparison with supposedly more prestigious recordings.

-- A.B., Gramophone [12/1997]
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Works on This Recording

Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Jessye Norman (Soprano), Kurt Moll (Bass), Siegfried Jerusalem (Tenor),
Yvonne Minton (Mezzo Soprano), Matti Salminen (Bass), Siegmund Nimsgern (Bass Baritone),
Peter Schreier (Tenor), René Kollo (Tenor), Theo Adam (Bass),
Ortrun Wenkel (Mezzo Soprano), Hanna Schwarz (Mezzo Soprano), Lucia Popp (Soprano),
Ortrun Wenkel (Alto), Eberhard Büchner (Tenor), Jeannine Altmeyer (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marek Janowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Dresden
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853-1874; Germany 
Venue:  St Luke's Church, Dresden 
Language: German 
Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Karl-Heinz Stryczek (Bass), Peter Schreier (Tenor), Theo Adam (Bass),
Christian Vogel (Tenor), Siegmund Nimsgern (Bass Baritone), Yvonne Minton (Mezzo Soprano),
Ortrun Wenkel (Alto), Hanna Schwarz (Mezzo Soprano), Roland Bracht (Bass),
Ute Priew (Mezzo Soprano), Lucia Popp (Soprano), Matti Salminen (Bass),
Marita Napier (Soprano), Eberhard Büchner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marek Janowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Dresden
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Germany 
Venue:  St Luke's Church, Dresden 
Language: German 
Siegfried by Richard Wagner
Performer:  René Kollo (Tenor), Peter Schreier (Tenor), Matti Salminen (Bass),
Norma Sharp (Soprano), Siegmund Nimsgern (Bass Baritone), Jeannine Altmeyer (Soprano),
Ortrun Wenkel (Alto), Theo Adam (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Marek Janowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Dresden
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Germany 
Venue:  St Luke's Church, Dresden 
Language: German 
Götterdämmerung by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Hanna Schwarz (Mezzo Soprano), Ute Priew (Mezzo Soprano), Lucia Popp (Soprano),
Ruth Falcon (Soprano), Daphne Evangelatos (Mezzo Soprano), Anne Gjevang (Alto),
Ortrun Wenkel (Mezzo Soprano), Norma Sharp (Soprano), Jeannine Altmeyer (Soprano),
Matti Salminen (Bass), Siegmund Nimsgern (Bass Baritone), René Kollo (Tenor),
Hans Günther Nöcker (Baritone)
Conductor:  Marek Janowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Dresden,  Dresden State Opera Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871-1874; Germany 
Venue:  St Luke's Church, Dresden 
Language: German 
Die Walküre by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Ortrun Wenkel (Mezzo Soprano), Anne Gjevang (Alto), Ruth Falcon (Soprano),
Christel Borchers (Mezzo Soprano), Kathleen Kuhlmann (Alto), Ute Priew (Mezzo Soprano),
Siegfried Jerusalem (Tenor), Kurt Moll (Bass), Jessye Norman (Soprano),
Theo Adam (Bass), Cheryl Studer (Soprano), Yvonne Minton (Mezzo Soprano),
Eva-Maria Bundschuh (Soprano), Jeannine Altmeyer (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marek Janowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Dresden
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
Venue:  St Luke's Church, Dresden 
Language: German 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Like better now then begore January 17, 2013 By alan smith (maple shade, NJ) See All My Reviews "When i first bought this in casstte form i was comparing it to the Solti set because my favourite ring opera is Siegfried and I still think that Windgassen is still he greatest Siegfried ever.When I heard Rene Kollo for the first time I was not impressed bcause I was comparing him to Windgassen.Now that I have heard a lot more ing cycles I now like Kollo a lot more.As for the rest of the cast,Theo Adam is my favourite Wotan,even over Hotter who was incredible.Nimsgern is the only rival for Neidlinger as Alberich and Altimeyer,I think,aquits herself well as Brunnhilde.Janowski does a fine job with the orchestra and theprice is spectacular but it all came down to Kollo which is why I just bought this set.I now own 7 Ring cycles and I count this one as one of the best" Report Abuse
 Wonderful Ring Cycle at a Bargain Price November 22, 2012 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "For Wagner fans, the Solti Ring cycle may well be the ultimate interpretation, with strong competition from Knappersbusch, Boehm, and Karajan, but Marek Janowski's shining work has a stellar cast, and the superb Dresden Staatskapelle deserves serious consideration. Making the case even stronger is the fact that it is a digital recording, and is offered by Arkivmusic at a ridiculously low price. This must qualify as one of the bargains of the year (any year for that matter). For anyone who has not yet heard any of Wagner's Ring, this is surely the way to go. So indulge yourself and enjoy some of the finest music ever composed!!!" Report Abuse
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