Studio recording in stereo
August 25-December 30, 1966
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Siegmund Jon Vickers
Sieglinde Gundula Janowitz
Wotan Thomas Stewart
Brünnhilde Régine Crespin
Hunding Martti Talvela
Fricka Josephine Veasey
Gerhilde Liselotte Rebmann
Ortlinde Carlotta Ordassy
Waltraute Ingrid Steger
Schwertleite Lilo Brockhaus
Helmwige Danica Mastilovic
Siegrune Barbro Ericson
Grimgerde Cvetka Ahlin
Roßweiße Helga Jenckel
Berliner Philharmoniker
Deutsche Grammophon, 415 145-2 4 CDs ADD
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Review by Graham Clark

Karajan's cycle has always been treated as an alternative to Solti's classic. It is an excellent recording, but has many flaws. My prime problems with it are:

• Under-dramatisized conducting

• Uninvolved orchestra (technically impressive, though)

• Singers without experience

These three problems are least stressed in Die Walküre. While Karajan is on no one's list as the greatest Wagner conductor, he gives an intelligent reading, well supported by the Berliner Philharmoniker.

In the cast, Vickers is a wonderful Siegmund: dramatic, at ease with the part, and strong voiced. His voice is rougher than usual, but so what? As for his Sieglinde, Gundula Janowitz is very sweet and virile of voice, but strangely unmemorable. Talvela is a perfect Hunding though, and Veasey makes one of the best Fricka's on disc.

Thomas Stewart may not have just the right voice for Wotan, but is dramatically alright. Similarly, Crespin does not have a very strong voice for Brünnhilde, but gives one of the few readings without any intrusive shrieks. While Karajan's Walküre may not be a first choice compared to, say, Böhm's but is one of the finer on disc in any case!

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.