gellio | San Francisco, CA | 09/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had long cringed at the thought of this magnificant masterpiece recorded in English. Even after reading several rave reviews on this cylce that I've read by authoritive Wagnerites and critics, I was still skeptical. Finally, I decided to add Goodall's 'Ring' as my third complete cycle (after Solti & Bohm) for one reason: because it was in English and I felt it would enhance my understand of 'The Ring.' In fact, after achieving that "higher understanding" I was planning on selling this set on Ebay. That was, of course, before I heard this magnificant recording.During the course of my research on 'The Goodall Ring' most of the praised seemed to heighten around 'Siegfried,' which is my absolute favorite of the cycle. That also helped to seal the deal. As the critics said, 'Siegfried' under Goodall is excellent, but not as monumental as Solti's reading, which IMHO is the greatest recording of 'Siegfried.'The set that stands out, to me, in 'The Goodall Ring' is this recording; The Valkyrie. It is absolutely breathtaking. Not only is it my favorite of this set, it is my favorite Valkyrie recording period (I am very familiar with Boehm's, Solti's, Karajan's, Furthwanglers, Levines, and others). Alberto Remedios (Siegmund here and Siegfried in the last two operas) is truly magnificant. It is the best Siegmund I have heard on disc (and his Siegfried rivals Windgassen). Coupled with Margaret Curphey (Sieglinde), you get the most beautiful and moving duo I have heard on record. The duet in Act I is simply glorious. You also get the bonus of Norman Bailey's triumphant Wotan (and Wanderer too). He has such command and prescene. He sounds like a God. Throw in Rita Hunter, who holds her own as Brunnhilde, Goodall's miraculous conducting, and excellent playing by the orchestra and it all adds up to a stunning recording. Sorry, I had to throw in a plug for 'The Valkyrie.''Twilight of the Gods' is no different. Although no recording will measure up to Solti's, IMHO, this recording is one of the best, if not the best (behind Solti) that I have ever heard. It's utterly breathtaking. Alberto Remedios (although not quite as good as he is in the previous two operas) shines a Siegfried. Rita Hunter's Brunnhilde is simply beautiful and this woman can act as well as sing. She really allows you to feel the character's emotions. Aage Haugland is also amazing as Hagen. What a great grasp of the character. I was most concerned about Goodall's spacious conducting, because it's at it's height here. However, I get completely taken over by the power and beauty of his conducting that this set seems to end so quickly after it's begun. He grabs me at the first not in 'Rheingold' and holds me until Hagen's "Give back the Ring!" I can only say that in a way it's a shame this set is in English. Were it not, I believe Goodall's 'Ring' would be one of the most talked about, popular, and sought after complete recordings of the cycle. I can only say that I am so happy that I finally opened up to opera recorded in a different language than written. I have fallen completely in love with Goodall's entire cycle. And, I have fallen in love with 'The Ring' all over again."
"If wrong should befall her, be swift to vengeance!"
Eric S. Kim | Southern California | 06/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The final installment of the Ring Cycle has got the be the longest one here: a total of 310 minutes! Not even James Levine's version is as slow as this. But it's not necessarily a bad thing. If I'm in the mood for very slow Wagner, then I'd choose either this or Levine's. If I'm int he moood for fast and energetic, then it's definitely Bohm. But anyway,
Reginald Goodall and the English National Opera have done a splendid job here. The English language is appropriate here. I don't mind the change in text, but I still prefer Stewart Spencer's English translation over Andrew Porter's translation that's present here.
Singers make this a plus. Rita Hunter and Alberto Remedios can be best described as "awe-inspiring". They'll literally leave you breathless. Margaret Curphy and Norman Welsby as the Gibichung siblings sound lovely. Aage Haugland's Hagen doens't live up to Matti Salminen's more recent Hagen, but he still has that dark voice that gives the subwoofers a hell of a damn time. Katherine Pring, who sang Fricka in Rhinegold, is memorable as Waltraute. Her narrative will tingle surely the spine. The three Norns and three Rhinedaughters are a delight, but the Vassals could've had some more work with their own voices.
As difficult as it may sound, Goodall's version of the Ring is unique. If you can tolerate turtle-like tempi and English voices, then I don't think you'll dislike this one.
The Box Set: Wagner: The Ring Cycle (Box Set)
-The Rhinegold (Part 1): Wagner: The Rhinegold
-The Valkyrie (Part 2): Wagner: The Valkyrie
-Siegfried (Part 3): Siegfried (Goodall Ring Cycle/Chandos Opera in English)"
Great - though not flawless - Performance
Ken Schellenberg | Arlington, VA United States | 11/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The question of whether live or studio recordings are preferable is even more important with Wagner's operas, and this one in particular. Live recording have the benefit of that extra spark performers get from an audience though a few imperfections (missed notes, etc.) may exist. This is particularly true of this opera, perhaps the most difficult single work of one of the most difficult opera comppsers. Why difficult? It's not that the music is hard to listen to (it's not), it's that the length of the opera (5 CDs in this performance) and intensity of the music place great demands on the performers.The orchestra in particular shows the strain of these demands. While it improves over the course of the performance, there are some wobbly intonation problems in Act I (i.e., the strings are out of tune). The singers, though, perform quite admirably throughout. They are well cast, and handle their roles exceedingly well.The text is an English translation. If that appeals to you (as it did me) you'll rank this a 5-star recording. If you're a German purist, you'll tend to think it a 4-star recording."