Live recording in mono
|Conductor: Rudolf Moralt|
|Wotan|| ||Ferdinand Frantz|
|MYTO, MCD 971.152
Review by Henrik Boman|
This is the first complete Ring recorded after the WWII, an excellent
cast still under, what I would like to call, the older Wagner tradition:
you can hear every single word of the text. The recording as something
of a historical document, using the greatest voices of its time, and
a conductor of the old school, in a town just a few years after the
disastrous war. Rudolf Moralt was since 1940 contracted at the Wiener
Staatsoper, during the Nazi regime, so the performance is a historical
document of an era (luckily) past and gone.
For me this is a different Walküre, because of the old tradition still
heard in the performance, and the remarkable conducting of Rudolf Moralt.
A quite slow tempi, with an intensity in a 'Solti like way', marking the
specific passages in the music, not the flow between the scenes. Moralt
lacks the sensitive touch of the slower moments of the opera, the ones
which his contemporary colleague Furtwängler mastered with such
The strings of the Wiener Symphoniker make a good impression, a firm
basis for the singers, but the woodwind and the horns make a somewhat
insecure impression at occasions.
It's a concert performance and the dramatic heaviness of a live
performance on stage is missing. Siegmund and Sieglinde are singing
to you, as a listener, not to each other. Treptow making a significant
performance, he is not the lonely 'waffen lose' hero, he is a loving,
strong Siegmund, looking for his love of the life. He is the 'heroic',
Konetzni in her main role, also performed under Furtwängler, is a strong
and loving woman, not the depressed and suffering wife of Hunding.
Herbert Alsen as Hunding is probably one of the darkest Hundings
recorded, a remarkable contrast to Siegmund. Helena Braun as Brünnhilde,
a darker voice than usual today, as both Varnay and Mödl. She's not
THE 'Brünnhilde' but she appeared repeatedly as Brünnhilde or Kundry
under Moralt and Knappertsbuch in the 1940s. Fricka of the performance,
Rosette Anday, is loud and demanding wife of Wotan, reminding him of his
duties as the Chief God when he wants to forget them, and only help,
and love, Siegmund.
The sound quality in Act I and II are remarkable good, if not to say
excellent, but in the third act the quality is poorer. Sadly enough
couldn't the modern technology repair the damages done to the original
tapes. The balance between singers and orchestra is not exemplary, it
puts the orchestral work in the background.
The opera was recorded one act a night, as later Furtwängler did in
his Tristan und Isolde and the RAI Ring, an idea Furtwängler got from
Moralt's performance. During the performance, Furtwängler sitting in
the audience, discovered his future Siegmund for the La Scala Ring
of 1950, Günther Treptow. Rushing out after the end of the first act,
he asked his assistant why he hadn't been informed about this tenor.
The Sieglinde of this performance, Hilde Konetzni, was also engaged
by Furtwängler for the La Scala Ring, together with Ferdinand Frantz.
I wouldn't recommend this Walküre to anyone who's not a Wagner
enthusiast. But if you are, it is an interesting and historical
performance with some of the best Wagner singers of its time.