Studio recording in stereo
May, 1989
Conductor: James Levine
Brünnhilde Hildegard Behrens
Siegfried Reiner Goldberg
Hagen Matti Salminen
Alberich Ekkehard Wlaschiha
Gunther Bernd Weikl
Gutrune Sheryl Studer
Waltraute Hanna Schwarz
Woglinde Hei-Kyung Hong
Wellgunde Diane Kesling
Floßhilde Meredith Parsons
1. Norne Helga Dernesch
2. Norne Tatiana Troyanos
3. Norne Andrea Gruber
Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra and Chorus
Deutsche Grammophon, 429 385-2 4 CDs DDD
Back Find any errors?

Review by Poul Slot

There is doubt that Solti's Götterdämmerung is number one, the best of them all, perhaps the best recording ever made. But just as sure is number two. This digital recording, made first in the 1990's, has almost the same "aura" as Solti's. Levine is fairly slow in he's reading, but I feel that in almost every aspect it can be justified. You hear things in the partitur, not even Solti's fine recording has. Although no singer in Levine's recording quite match Solti's, there is no doubt that Levine has made the best of the best posible, in his choice of singers. Reiner Goldberg is a solid Siegfried, but it would be nice to hear Placido Domingo sing Siegfried. (He sings Siegmund in Walküre, next season at the Beyreuth.) But for the time being, there seems to no one else than Jerusalem. Who's best? Neither Jerusalem or Goldberg has Windgassen's level and commitment to the "older Siegfried", and of cause the Danish tenor Melchior. Perhaps the best Siegfried ever. I think so!

Allthough Behrens never really threats Birgit Nilsson's Brünnhilde she gives a strong performance, and one would certainly not miss anything if it wasn't for Nilsson's legendary performance. The Finnish bass Salminen is the best Hagen since Frick. Whether you prefer Frick or Salminen is an academic discussion. With a very small margin I prefer Frick. He is just a little bit more "black" in his interpitaion.

Wlaschiha's Alberich has almost the legendary Gustav Neidlinger's level. Certenly the best Alberich since Neidlinger in the 50's and 60's WAS Alberich. Other singer's that should be mentioned is the Gutrune of Cheryl Studer. She easily matches Karajan's Janowitz, and just as easily surpasses Solti's Gutrune: Claire Watson. Also Weikl's Gunther is a solid performance, although Fischer-Dieskau's level gives us more of the complex part of Gunther.

Levine is as mentioned before slower than Solti, but this Götterdämmerung is certainly the most beautifully performed, and the MET orchestra and chorus gives the performance of a lifetime. The death of Siegfried is clean and smooth an very powerful. The end of the opera does not have Solti's "aura" and of course not Nilsson's powerfull voice, that made her one of the best sopranos who ever lived. A sure second choice, if you want two recordings of Götterdämmerung; otherwise, choose Solti's.