"I've recently gotten into opera, and have mostly listened to Italian and French opera (with the exception of Die Zauberflote). I started getting tired of all the frilliness of the Italian works, particulary, and decided to give Serious German Opera a go. As a new opera fan, I was intimidated by Wagner's reputation; lengthy, intense, and heavy. I figured this CD would be a good choice for an introduction, as it features highlights of the entire Ring cycle. I am neither dissapointed, intimidated nor put off by this recording. The depth of the work is a nice change of pace, and very refreshing."
A wonderful introduction, or a new experience
T. Archambeault | Crawfordsville, IN USA | 02/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Admittedly, it is a daunting task to try to "get into" opera, and even more so with Wagner's Ring. This CD is perfect for the beginner and the more experienced listener for various reasons. First of all, it spoils you somewhat in presenting you with the best pieces of the various operas. These "bleeding chunks" certainly give you a wonderful introduction to the various motifs, and most importantly, are very long pieces. The CD manages to capture several of the different flavors present in Wagner's opera.Secondly, the CD is worth its price mainly due to Karajan's conducting. After listening to Solti's version of the Ring (also wonderful), I was suprised by the subtle hints he seems to charge through. You can literally hear the galloping of the horse, or subtle musical hints which add a great appreciation and character to the opera. Thus, if you have experienced several other conductors, but have not had the pleasure of Karajan, it would be worth the price.Unfortunatly, some of the singing is kinda weak. Again, after Solti's Valkyries, you will have a hard time getting into the singing. And again, Karajan's Brunhilde isn't as strong as Solti's, but she still holds her own. Loge, here, sounds like a trickster (though he does sing/speak his words), and the Wotan's are alright.In conclusion, this is perfect if you want to add flavor to your Wagner listening experience, or just want to know what the big deal is. I, of course, suggest getting one of the DVD's to get the big picture of what is going on (Levine's MET is a good start). So buy and enjoy."
Not an introduction to The Ring
Kilchomin | WI USA | 04/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is absolutely the best "highlight" collection out there -- no others come close to the range and depth of material provided. But beware, this is not an "introduction to The Ring", as some claim -- the notes are skimpy, the titles of the excerpts are untranslated, there is no libretto, no description of the excerpts -- their context or meaning -- so what you have is a great summary of the works -- one that is most useful if you already know them -- something to take along with you in the car or while jogging or walking the dog to remind you of the real thing. Bear in mind that whatever the deficiencies of this collection, the others have the same faults also."
D. Dubei | New York, NY | 06/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this is a good way to see why it is worth getting the full Der Ring opera--all 15 CDs! having just the highlights shows you the power and majesty of Wagner's music, but skips the depth and true emotion you get out of listening to the whole opera."