Studio recording in stereo
December, 1968, February, 1969
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Siegfried Jess Thomas
Mime Gerhard Stolze
Brünnhilde Helga Dernesch
Wanderer Thomas Stewart
Alberich Zoltán Kelemen
Fafner Karl Ridderbusch
Erda Oralia Dominguez
Waldvogel Catherine Gayer
Berliner Philharmoniker
Deutsche Grammophon, 415 150-2 4 CDs ADD
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Review by Charles E. Muntz

In what is already a weak Ring cycle, Herbert von Karajanís Siegfried is the weakest link. Like the other operas in his cycle, the conducting is bland and uninvolving, as wonderfully as the Berlin Philharmonic plays.

Furthermore, much of the cast is inadequate. Jess Thomas is completely out of his depth as Siegfried, lacking the weight, lyricism and intelligence the role requires, and he pales beside Gerhard Stolze's brilliant Mime. Helga Dernesch is likewise inadequate as Brünnhilde, although she does try. Thomas Stewart is better as the Wanderer here than he was as Wotan in Walküre, but he still lacks the weight and authority the role requires. The rest of the cast is adequate but not outstanding. This recording simply does not compare to the classic Solti or some of the more modern Siegfrieds, including Boulez and Barenboim, and should be avoided by all but serious Ring enthusiasts.

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.