Solti's Ring remastered is also available on one Blu-ray Audio disc with complete libretto
This set includes Wagner's
Cycle on 14 CDs plus Deryck Cooke's
An Introduction to Der Ring Des Nibelungen
on CDs 15 & 16, a booklet with introductions to each opera by producer John Culshaw along with synopses and session photographs, and a CD-ROM of the complete libretto.
Decca’s landmark recording of Wagner’s
Der Ring des Nibelungen
is the most celebrated classical recording in history. The combination of Sir Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic with an international cast of the greatest Wagnerian singers resulted in the definitive recording. Now presented in a 17-disc box in the definitive high-bit-depth transfer at a very affordable price.
Robert Levine already reviewed the super-duper uber-deluxe Solti Ring box, with so much extra stuff in it that the performance of the actual opera was almost beside the point. For many listeners, this set will be preferable, not least because it contains the remastered, best-sounding edition of the recording and only costs about $40. You still get plenty of bonus material nonetheless. There’s a nice booklet with notes to each opera by producer John Culshaw, two discs containing Deryck Cooke’s excellent analysis of Wagner’s Leitmotiv system with musical examples, and a CD-ROM with English and French translations of the librettos plus the actual musical examples from Cooke’s talk (alongside a transcript of same).
In short, this is all the Ring that most people will ever need. I can only second Bob’s recommendation of the performance as the reference recording. There may be other versions as well or better sung, especially those live Bayreuth sets from the 1950s. In stereo, I personally retain a preference for Böhm’s recording for his scorcher of a Walküre. You still get Birgit Nilsson’s Brünnhilde, but Leonie Rysanek’s Sieglinde was an iconic role (remember “The Scream?”) and Böhm’s conducting is simply as exciting as hell–even if the Bayreuth orchestra sounds a touch screechy at times. But this is all very much a question of personal taste. For the total package: great singing, playing, sonics, and yes, conducting; Solti’s still the standard, and the packaging is a bargain.
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com