Der fliegende Holländer
Studio recording in stereo
May, 1976
Conductor: Georg Solti
DalandMartti Talvela
SentaJanis Martin
ErikRené Kollo
MaryIsola Jones
SteuermannWerner Krenn
HolländerNorman Bailey
Chicago Symphony
Orchestra and Chorus
Decca, 414 551-2 2 CDs ADD
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Review by Graham Clark

Well, after hearing Solti's "Ring", and Lohengrin, I must admit that his Fliegende Holländer was disappointing. The singing is pleasant, but often weak sounding. As if that weren't enough, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra displays a woeful inferiority to anything Bayreuth could offer at the time (I guess Solti hadn't really had time to temper them yet, as he eventually did.)

The only singers who really get on my nerves are the Dutchman of Bailey, and the Steersman of Krenn. The first is agreeable on the ear, but too agreeable. He does not project the Dutchman's character well enough, especially when we look at some of his rivals and what they have to offer. The latter is also pleasant to listen to, but his vocal strength is nothing short of pitiful! Otherwise, the Senta of Janis Martin can be a problem. She is good enough to be convincing, but pales against rivals such as the regal Gwyneth Jones (Böhm's recording), or the searing Anja Silja (Nelsson's).

The chorus is better than some of the soloists, and Solti conducts well, even imaginatively. I find this recording good enough to be a curiosity, but I personally will stick with finer Bayreuth performances of the likes of Böhm. Whether or not people like this recording (in my opinion) depends on what they are looking for. If they are looking for thrill and enticement, then clearly this is something to stear clear of. If, however, someone wants to be able to relax while listening, or use it as background music, then Solti's is to be slightly more seriously considered. (Don't quote on those last sentences.)

This review is from the now closed Wagner on the Web and it is published without the author's consent. I haven't been able to get in touch with him. If the author reads this, please contact me as soon as possible. If you don't want it here, I'll take it of the site immediately.