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Blu-ray Review

Richard Wagner

Der Ring des Nibelungen

Das Rheingold
  • John Tomlinson - Wotan
  • Bodo Brinkmann - Donner
  • Kurt Schreibmayer - Froh
  • Graham Clark - Loge
  • Günter von Kannen - Alberich
  • Helmut Pampuch - Mime
  • Matthias Hölle - Fasolt
  • Philip Kang - Fafner
  • Linda Finnie - Fricka
  • Eva Johansson - Freia
  • Birgitta Svendén - Erda
  • Hilde Leidland - Woglinde
  • Annette Küttenbaum - Wellgunde
  • Jane Turner - Flosshilde
Die Walküre *
  • Poul Elming - Siegmund
  • Nadine Secunde - Sieglinde
  • Matthias Hölle - Hunding
  • John Tomlinson - Wotan
  • Anne Evans - Brünnhilde
  • Linda Finnie - Fricka/Siegrune
  • Eva Johansson - Gerhilde
  • Ruth Floeren - Ortlinde
  • Shirley Close - Waltraute
  • Hitomi Katagiri - Schwertleite
  • Eva-Maria Bundschuh - Helmwige
  • Birgitta Svendén - Grimgerde
  • Hebe Dijkstra - Roßweiße
Siegfried *
  • Siegfried Jerusalem - Siegfried
  • John Tomlinson - Der Wanderer
  • Günter von Kannen - Alberich
  • Philip Kang - Fafner
  • Graham Clark - Mime
  • Anne Evans - Brünnhilde
  • Birgitta Svendén - Erda
  • Hilde Leidland - Waldvogel
  • Siegfried Jerusalem - Siegfried
  • Bodo Brinkmann - Gunther
  • Philip Kang - Hagen
  • Günter von Kannen - Alberich
  • Anne Evans - Brünnhilde
  • Eva-Maria Bundschuh - Gutrune
  • Waltraud Meier - Waltraute
  • Birgitta Svendén - First Norn
  • Linda Finnie - Second Norn
  • Uta Priew - Third Norn
  • Hilde Leidland - Woglinde
  • Annette Küttenbaum - Wellgunde
  • Jane Turner - Flosshilde
Chorus & Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival/Daniel Barenboim
Staged and directed by Harry Kupfer
Stage design - Hans Schavernoch
Costume design - Reinhard Heinrich
Video director - Horant H. Hohlfeld
Artistic supervision - Wolfgang Wagner
Filmed at the Bayreuth Festival - June/July 1991; * June/July 1992
Bonus Feature: Daniel Barenboim & John Tomlinson talk about the Harry Kupfer production of Wagner's Ring
Unitel Classica Blu-ray BD4755 917m 4 Discs LPCM Stereo Dolby DTS
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon JapanOrder Now from ArkivMusic.comFind it at CD Universe

Back at the beginning of 2012 I reviewed the DVD version of this Wagner Ring set from Unitel Classica and found it excellent in just about every respect (Warner/Teldec DVD 4755). I'll simply add that I have not changed my mind in any way about my very positive assessment of the productions and performances. In fact, I will second my earlier notice by stating that this video Ring effort is truly a classic and should be acquired by all serious Wagnerians.

The only issue of concern here then is how effective this Blu-ray incarnation is. One obvious advantage is that it is presented on four discs compared with eleven in the DVD set. I don't find that there's much difference, however, in the sound reproduction between the two formats, though the Blu-ray features a slightly sharper picture and perhaps better color. Thus, if you already own the DVD set you probably won't find it absolutely necessary to upgrade to the Blu-ray version. However, to those who don't have this Wagner Ring on video, by all means get the Blu-ray, if financial resources allow. You won't be disappointed as the production values and performances are, as suggested above, the stuff of a classic. I doubt that few if any productions will ever surpass in any significant way this magnificent effort by Daniel Barenboim and Harry Kupfer. I almost feel as if I should go on, but between my original review and this terse update I've had my say. Highly recommended!

Copyright © 2012, Robert Cummings