Ralph J. Steinberg | New York, NY United States | 12/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is another great issue from the 1955 Keilberth Bayreuth series. I have already commented on the overwhelming power of his "Rheingold" and "Walkuere" (I have no doubt that the res of the 1955 Ring will be of equal quality and will be the ESSENTIAL Ring), and the same goes for this Dutchman. The Overture sets the stage for a vigorous, weighty, but not elephantine interpretation, with the scent of salty sea air and thunderclouds just jumping out at the listener. As for the cast, the title role, sung by Hermann Uhde, is perfectly rendered. Uhde had a leaner, perhaps smaller voice than Hotter, but has the same intensity and sensitivity; what a shame that he never was properly appreciated in his lifetime! His is certainly one of the three best Dutchmen on record (Hotter and Fischer-Dieskau are the other two). Weber's Daland likewise is as fine as Frick's and very close to Hann's. Traxel is one of the the best Steersmen (The other is Wunderlich) and Schaertel is a lovely Mary; only Lustig's Erik sounds a bit worn and unromantic (Lustig is a great Loge in the Keilberth "Rheingold", by the way). He is by no means bad, but certainly falls short of Windgassen in the Knappertsbusch from the same festival and Schock in the Fischer-Dieskau/Konwitchny set. But one role here is simply in a class by itself: The Senta of Astrid Varnay. No other Senta on CD or LP can match the power of her delivery and its raw passion. Recordingwise, this is another great set from 1955 Bayreuth. I would never want to give up the Krauss or Konwitchny sets, but if I had to pick one "Flying Dutchman" that really storms the seas and makes the case for the superiority of live performances, this would be it. BAYREUTH RULES FOREVER!"