"It is perhaps the heaviest role of this cycle, that of Siegfried and Coby Welch sings him in the edition that is central here, certainly not without merit. Its strength and reach is unparalleled. And Joan Sutherland is a beautiful forest bird here."Nieuwe Noten, 30-1-2022
A Water Damage turned into luck
“The Rhine is where Richard Wagner’s cycle of operas “Der Ring des Nibelungen” begins and ends – and it was beside the Rhine in 1851 that the composer first dreamed of this equally visionary and monumental work. Even if Wagner’s plans for a festival would ultimately be realised in an entirely different part of Germany, the performance of a “Ring on the Rhine” will always remain something very special.
And where better to make this happen than at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein? Two cities, two orchestras, two casts of singers – with the Rhine opera’s fantastic ensemble of singers and its two outstanding orchestras, the Duisburger Philharmoniker and the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, at their two venues in Duisburg und Düsseldorf, the essential conditions were in place. The “Ring on the Rhine” staged by Dietrich W. Hilsdorf and under my own musical direction gradually began to take shape from June 2017 onwards……….
However, a few weeks before the premiere of “Götterdämmerung”, a defective sprinkler system flooded the theatre Duisburg. The damage this caused made the staged “Ring” cycle in Duisburg (for the time being) completing impossible. Fortunately, on short notice we had the opportunity to perform the “Ring des Nibelungen” at least in concert form in Duisburg at the nearby Mercatorhalle. Soon
after we started rehearsing, we realised that this supposed “emergency solution” had turned out to be a real stroke of luck. In the brilliant acoustics of the concert hall the singing voices and the sound of the orchestra came together to create a thrilling experience for the listeners – one that our audience greeted with standing ovations. A desire was soon expressed to make the experience available to a wider public beyond this one-time concert performance. The result is this live recording of all four parts of the “Ring” cycle..…..“
(From the Editorial of the musical director Axel Kober)
Richard Wagner was an important innovator of music in his time. He is best known for his operas, which he himself preferred to refer to as musical dramas. He wrote the texts (the libretti) himself and sought to make a Gesamtkunstwerk, the ideal union of text, music and theatre. Over time, this lead to grandiose musical dramas which were performed in a specially built theater for these works in the small town of Bayreuth.
Wagner's greatest critic, the philosopher Nietzsche, named his former friend the "greatest miniaturist of music who in the smallest of space squeezed an endless amount of sense and sweetness". Nietzsche regarded this as a sympton of decadence, yet it does portray the large variety of treasures which can be found in Wagner's music: the mysterious fantasy stories of the love potion of Tristan & Isolde, Wotan's spear, the sea of flames of Brünhilde, the sword of Siegfried... Still the real main character is the orchestra, which shines its light on all the true intentions and feelings of these heroes with great depth.
Both as a composer and as an individual, Wagner remains a subject of controversy and emotional discussions. By many he is hailed as a hero, and by equally many others completely dismissed. But his influence as a composer and musical innovator is undeniable!
It is perhaps the heaviest role of this cycle, that of Siegfried and Coby Welch sings him in the edition that is central here, certainly not without merit. Its strength and reach is unparalleled. And Joan Sutherland is a beautiful forest bird here.
Nieuwe Noten, 30-1-2022
The singers are clearly attuned to each other .... then there is the unmistakable dramatic tension that can hold you in its grip