When Wagner issued his famous command to "Create something new!" Australia was a country all but devoid of opera. Skip forward one hundred and thirty years and the State Opera of South Australia has indeed created something new: the very first recording of Die Walküre on Super Audio Compact Disc.
In terms of the technology, SOSA's surround-sound Die Walküre (MR 301091-94) is as ground-breaking as Georg Solti's 1959-1966 Decca recording of the Ring Cycle ... SOSA's multi-channel Die Walküre is taken from a series of live, staged performances.
Under Asher Fisch, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra play superbly. Their articulation is excellent, their blend rich and clean, and the big orchestral set pieces of Die Walküre - the Act I Prelude, and the heady arrival of the Valkyries in Act III - are extremely exciting heard in this new format. Fisch is also a sensitive accompanist, and the long dialogues between the characters are smoothly and intelligently coloured ...
[S]uch is the intensity and sincerity of [Lisa Gasteen's] performance ... Her diction is outstanding, and one senses that she is a singer who really understands and cares for the text. Also touching is Stuart Skelton's Siegmund. Steely of tone, and impressively elastic in his range, Skelton is the most promising young Wagnerian to emerge from Australia since, well, Gasteen. Few Wagner-nuts will be able to resist this recording