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Opera in English - Wagner: The Valkyrie / Goodall, et al

Album Summary

>Wagner, Richard : Die Walküre
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"...Goodall's conducting [was] weighty, sonorous, slow-moving but surely paced and deeply supportive of the voices. And what a cast he had, led by Remedios's ardent lyrical Volsung, Hunter's ample shining Valkyie, Bailey's warmly wise Wotan...Now Chandos [is] reissuing it, cleanly remastered..." ***** -Pappenheim, BBC

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Valkyrie: There's something inevitable, even eternal about Goodall's long-breathed, fulltoned, often ideally articulated reading. The ENO management's faith in him was handsomely repaid in his ability to convey his lifetime vision to is regular cast and eventually to his audiences. On paper, tempos may look unacceptably slow; in practice there are very few places - perhaps Siegmund's Spring song and Sieglinde's reply - where they seem too tardy.

That's largely due to his ability to find the Hauptstimme for every paragraph of the music, indeed for a whole act and, perhaps even more, to his ability to persuade players and singers alike to sustain a long line. Listeners familiar only with the Solti cycle will hardly recognise this as the same work.

By 1976 all his singers were entirely inside their respective roles and so able to project a feeling of familiarity with their music that's evident in every bar. Like all the most satisfying sets of the Ring, it benefits enormously from being heard live in a theatre acoustic, and here no compromises have to be made, so superb are producer John Mordler's and his team's skills.

You seem to be seated in centre stalls imbibing the performance. Rita Hunter bestrides the role of Brünnhilde in a confident manner achieved in relatively modern times only by Birgit Nilsson, whose bright tone and effortless top Hunter's so much resembles. She's also a thoughtful, very human interpreter of the role, keen with her words and investing them with the right import.

By her side Bailey confirms that he's as excellent a Wotan as any since Hans Hotter. His reading of the taxing part is virtually tireless and his interpretation combines authority with fatherly concern. Remedios's Siegmund remains one of the most sweetly sung and appealing on disc. If Curphey isn't quite in his class vocally, she offers a deeply felt and sympathetic Sieglinde. Ann Howard is, rightly, a termagant of a Fricka, with a touch of asperity in her tone. Clifford Grant is a sonorous, towering Hunding. The Valkyries, comprising many of the most promising female singers of the day (among them Elizabeth Connell and Anne Evans), acquit themselves very well. All the cast benefit from Andrew Porter's carefully wrought, very singable translation. Overall, a hearty welcome back to a great recording.

Gramophone Magazine
This very fine Wagner recording returns to the catalogue - a highly persuasive account in its considered approach. The singing, in an effective English translation is excellent

Penguin Guide
the glory of the ENO performance lies not just in Goodall's spacious direction but in the magnificent Wotan of Norman Bailey, noble in the broadest span but very human in his illumination of detail. Rita Hunter sings nobly too...the total dramatic conpulsion is irresistible



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Works Details

>Wagner, Richard : Die Walküre
  • Performers: Helen Attfield (Alto); Norman Bailey (Bass Baritone); Katie Clarke (Soprano); Elizabeth Connell (Soprano); Anne Conoley (Soprano); Margaret Curphey (Soprano); Anne Evans (Soprano); Clifford Grant (Bass); Ann Howard (Mezzo Soprano); Rita Hunter (Soprano); Alberto Remedios (Tenor); Shilagh Squires (Voice); Sarah Walker (Mezzo-soprano)
  • Conductor: Reginald Goodall
  • Ensemble: English National Opera Orchestra
  • Notes: London Coliseum, London, England (12/18/1975/12/20/1975)
  • Running Time: 73 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1854-1856