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Wagner: Das Rheingold / Matthias Goerne, Michelle De Young, Kim Begley, Oleksandr Pushniak, Charles Reid, Anna Samuil, Deborah Humble. Hong Kong PO, Jaap van Zweden

Album Summary

>Wagner, Richard : Das Rheingold
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The opening salvo of Wagner's tetralogy, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) , Das Rheingold establishes immediately the epic nature of Wagner's intentions in a epochal tale that owes much to Old Norse and Icelandic sagas. Featuring the acclaimed conductor Jaap Van Zweeden with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, this production is graced with the presence of noted soloists such as Matthias Goerne, Kwangchul Youn, Eri Nakamura and Michelle DeYoung, among others.

The Guardian, 21st October 2015
The orchestral textures have a spaciousness and transparency, and an unforced sense of architectural shaping and dramatic flow...But the real surprise here is Matthias Goerne's performance as Wotan. His handling of the text is as exemplary as anyone would expect from such a seasoned lieder singer, but it's the power and gravitas that Goerne brings to the role that are so startling.

Gramophone Magazine, November 2015
The Hong Kong Philharmonic sound fully up for the occasion and have the stamina for this demanding piece... Matthias Goerne sings Wotan beautifully with much baritonal sophistication, predictable care for words and able negotiation of trickier moments... Peter Sidhom enjoys himself greatly playing Alberich as an out-and-out 'baddie'... [the scene in Nibelheim] feels as if David Cangelosi's Mime, both funny and moving with any kind of braying excess, has acted as a catalyst to turn the occasion into a more full-on dramatic performance.

BBC Music Magazine, January 2016
Sidhom's dark-leather tone and malevolent characterisation make an impressive Alberich, fellow Briton Kim Begley is a smooth, sardonic Loge, ideally lyrical in his narration...Van Zweden conducts with an easy sweep that would carry one along in the opera house...This knocks spots off rival budget versions...and many more expensive.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall (01/22/2015/01/24/2015).


Satisfying orchestral version of the score to Das Rheingold…
This 2 CD set consists of the orchestral music for Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” recorded in January 2015 of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (under the capable baton of Jaap van Zweden) and featuring an impressive array of soloists. Matthias Goerne does a fine job as Wotan, his warm and powerful voice lending power and strength to the part, while Michelle DeYoung’s supple mezzo-soprano is well suited to bringing Fricka to life. Peter Sidhom’s dark baritone is positively wonderful as Alberich, the dwarf Nibelung that steals the Rhinemaiden’s gold and forged it into the Ring. I didn’t feel that any of the soloists were weak – but these three particularly stood out for me on this recording.

With any operatic work of Wagner, I always have trouble if I am not watching the full opera production itself live in the opera house. While the live theater experience is never fully captured by a recording, I am a always particularly cognizant of that fact that *something* is missing and that is certainly true here. That being said, it’s not safe to watch a DVD and drive a car at the same time, and this recording has kept me company on more than a few journeys. The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra sounds fantastic, neither overpowering the soloists (easy to do given Wagner’s large orchestration) nor succumbing to worshipping the soloists as does happen from time-to-time on other recordings. The balance here is good, with the orchestra and soloists working as equal partners to bring the work to life as much as is possible given that this is not a full opera production.

The liner notes give a breakdown and summary of the basic plot and themes present in the work, annotated with track numbers, as well as providing a brief historical background on some of the behind-the-scenes drama that always followed Wagner himself. For those that love and appreciate the music of Wagner, and particularly this opening of his Ring Cycle, this 2 CD set is welcome company. Recommended.

Submitted on 04/04/16 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Wagner, Richard : Das Rheingold
  • Conductor: Jaap Zweden
  • Ensemble: Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: The Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall (01/22/2015/01/24/2015)
  • Running Time: 82 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1853-1854
  • Studio/Live: Live