Live recording in stereo from
Festspielhaus Bayreuth
Conductor: Karl Böhm
Siegmund James King
Sieglinde Leonie Rysanek
Wotan Theo Adam
Brünnhilde Birgit Nilsson
Hunding Gerd Nienstedt
Fricka Annelies Burmeister
Gerhilde Danica Mastilovic
Ortlinde Helga Dernesch
Waltraute Gertraud Hopf
Schwertleite Sieglinde Wagner
Helmwige Liane Synek
Siegrune Annelies Burmeister
Grimgerde Elisabeth Schärtel
Roßweiße Sona Cervená
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
Philips, 412 478-2 4 CDs ADD
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Review by Charles E. Muntz

This recording, made live at Bayreuth in 1967, is one of my favorite Walküres. The best part of it is the first act. Leonie Rysanek is a mature, involving Sieglinde, finely and dramatically sung. James King, whose voice has always struck me as being particularly suited for Siegmund, partners her. His interpretation has matured and is altogether a bit more dramatically involving than it was for Solti two years earlier. And I think that Böhm's conducting of this act has a slightly better dramatic flow than Solti's. The one downside is that Nienstedt's Hunding is not quite "black" enough for the role. But that is a minor concern. Fortunately, this act is available separately on a single disc (Philips, 442 640-2).

Birgit Nilsson's Brünnhilde, an assumption that has become the stuff of legend, dominates the rest of the opera. Here she is at full throttle, slightly even more intense than she was for Solti's excellent recording. Unfortunately, Theo Adam as Wotan is not up to the same standard. His voice is short on power and authority and tends to sound abrasive, although his interpretation is well thought out and intelligent. Hotter, even with his vocal problems, is a far better Wotan for Solti.

The rest of the cast is quite good, the Valkyries as fine as any on record, and Burmeister’s Fricka is appropriately waspish and nagging.

Karl Böhm gives an exciting reading of the rest of the opera as well, although Solti and Furtwängler both give better, more controlled and thought out interpretations. Böhm also at times drives the music too hard, making it sound superficial. The Bayreuth Orchestra is excellent, but weak in the brass and the recording lacks detail and dimension.

But all in all this is an excellent recording of Die Walküre, one of the best. If you are looking for a recording of Die Walküre alone, this is an excellent choice, although the individual operas of the Böhm cycle are hard to find these days.

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.