Studio recording in stereo from
Festspielhaus Bayreuth
Conductor: Daniel Barenboim
Siegfried Siegfried Jerusalem
Mime Graham Clark
Brünnhilde Anne Evans
Wanderer John Tomlinson
Alberich Günter von Kannen
Fafner Philip Kang
Erda Birgitta Svendén
Waldvogel Hilde Leidland
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
Teldec, 4509-94193-2 4 CDs DDD
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Review by Graham Clark

This recording is the definition of "revolutionary". Before I go into the music, let me say a word about the video. This performance was recorded and video-taped at Bayrueth during Harry Kupfer's long-running production. The costumes are straight from a bad thriller movie, and the sets look like something out of a Sci-Fi film. Add those laser-light sound effects, and you get a, to say the least, very futuristic production.

The music does not do much to compensate for the zany staging. Barenboim's tempi are, to put it mildly, unconventional. The Bayreuth orchestra plays fairly well, but at times they seem to be challenged by Barenboim's new conducting style (with somewhat uneven tempi). A consolation is the generally fine singing.

Jerusalem is as always a satisfactory Siegfried, but seems outsung dramatically by Graham Clark (no relation to yours truly) as Mime. Tomlinson and Philip Kang as the Wanderer and Fafner are also good, but the latter lacks dramatic ability. Look instead to the Erda of Svedén, and the glowing Brünnhilde of Anne Evans, if you want to be impressed.

Unless you are a lover of modern art, and like the Wanderer's broken sunglasses and portayal of Mime as a mechanic, avoid the video of this production. The CD is a better musical experiance, although note that the sound effects leave something to be desired. The approach to the music in Siegfried is more conventional than in the rest of the operas. For those wishing to sample Barenboim's "Ring", I say go for this opera.

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.