Melba Recordings

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Wagner: Die Walküre

17/10/2006
Mundo Clasico (Spain)
Alfredo Lopez-Vivie Palencia

This is the first edition of the Ring on SACD … I do not have a multi-channel set of loudspeakers but I can guarantee that even a stereo device will easily demonstrate depth, warmth, clarity and presence that is so perfectly combined that everything you hear is heard in place …

This Walküre … does not stop being an intimate opera … with four sets of character pairs (Siegmund / Sieglinde, Wotan / Fricka, Brünnhilde / Siegmund, Wotan / Brünnhilde) free to express their deeper emotions … The great success of this recording is based on the fact that conductor, orchestra and singers reveal all of these emotions in all their privacy.

The name of Israeli Asher Fisch is not well known here, but he does spend much time conducting in the world’s best opera houses, especially Wagner. And, judging by this recording, he knows what he is doing: it demonstrates that he knows the work like the back of his hand and beats a steady pulse throughout … supporting the singers, and wonderfully translates into sound the meaning of the leitmotives. That is to say, he knows how to maintain continuity of the drama, even through the static moments

The orchestra is a complete surprise …

The first act is a miracle. Stuart Skelton has a voice with colour, body and diaphragm support that is more than sufficient for his dramatic personage; in addition, he understands the character of Siegmund … Deborah Riedel displays the same virtues and complements Skelton … to make an enviable pair of Volsungs …

The Valkyries sound homogenous and vibrant …

One does not even realise that we are listening to a live recording until you hear the applause at the end of each act, so quiet is the audience and with so little stage noise. The packaging is one of luxury, with an enormous booklet of 160 pages – and legible type! – containing the biographies of the main singers, decent program notes by Mike Ashman, and a very complete synopsis …

Lovers of new technology will appreciate this recording … I cannot wait for the next three instalments.