Notes and Editorial Reviews
To follow the release of its November 2015 recording of "Das Rheingold" – the “preliminary evening” of Richard Wagner's cycle "Der Ring des Nibelungen" - BR-KLASSIK is now continuing the cycle with "The Valkyrie". The concert performances were recorded on February 8 and 10, 2019 in the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz. With his "Rheingold", Sir Simon Rattle has already decisively disproved the longstanding claim that he and Wagner were unsuited to one another. This next collaboration between the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the British conductor – with his white curls, wisdom, and confident pose on the cover – not only features a team of first-rate Wagner singers but also reveals once again how well Rattle understands and interprets Wagner's music. Only a few months after the live event, this mighty music drama – a huge success with the public – is being released for the first time on four very fine albums.
Reasons why "The Valkyrie" has become the most popular part of the tetralogy include the heart-rending encounters between the two Wälsungs Siegmund and Sieglinde, the all-too-human gods – and, of course, such musical highlights as Siegmund's "Winter Storms" monologue, “The Ride of the Valkyries”, or "Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music”. Wotan, the father of the gods, is sung by the English bass-baritone James Rutherford; Elisabeth Kulman is back as his argumentative wife Fricka; Eric Halvarson, who was the giant Fafner in Rattle's "Rheingold", now sings the part of the evil Hunding. New additions to the star-studded ensemble of soloists include Irène Theorin as Wotan's favorite daughter Brunnhilde, and Stuart Skelton and Eva-Maria Westbroek as the incestuous twins Siegmund and Sieglinde.