Wagner: Das Rheingold

Peter McCallum
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

There is an exciting clarity, brightness of detail, depth and spaciousness around the recorded sound of this disc. This gives focus and tonal definition to the augmented Adelaide Symphony Orchestra under Asher Fisch and, when combined with strength of characterisation in the voices, recreates a live listening experience of surprising vividness.

Strongest among the cast is John Wegner as a maniacally potent Alberich who renounces love, steals the gold and builds and loses an empire. Elizabeth Campbell as the politically not-quite-correct wife-god, Fricka, has an effectively insistent vocal edge, while Kate Ladner brings a wonderfully fresh, blooming sound to the almost-ravished Freia. John Bröcheler brings weight and power to Wotan, while Christopher Doig sings the fire-god role of Loge with light, mercurial incisiveness.

This is the first opera in the Cycle but this is the second release of Melba’s live recordings of Adelaide's 2004 Ring … the sound and voices equally rewarding.