Studio recording in stereo
April, 1987
Conductor: James Levine
Siegmund Gary Lakes
Sieglinde Jessye Norman
Wotan James Morris
Brünnhilde Hildegard Behrens
Hunding Kurt Moll
Fricka Christa Ludwig
Gerhilde Marita Napier
Ortlinde Marilyn Mims
Waltraute Reinhild Runkel
Schwertleite Ruthild Engert-Ely
Helmwige Linda Kelm
Siegrune Diane Kesling
Grimgerde Meredith Parsons
Roßweiße Anne Wilkens
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon, 423 389-2 4 CDs DDD
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Review by J. C. Wood

While many have stated that the classic Die Walküre of the Solti Cycle is unsurpassed in its brilliance not only in conducting but also singing, being possessed of Nilsson, Hotter, Ludwig et. al., the age of the recording is a slight hinderence to the breathtaking glory of Wagner's score. The first digital Cycle is not quite up to the same vocal level of the Solti cycle with one exception: Die Walküre.

Jessye Norman is radiant as Sieglinde, with a young and glorious voiced Gary Lakes as Siegmund. Hildegarde Behrens' diction is tremendous in her native German, while the Wotan of James Morris is everything that could ever be hoped for. The key complaint in this suptuous sounding CD is the sluggish tempo at which Maestro Levine conducts. There are a few minor inconsistencies in the Fricka of Christa Ludwig but for a woman who had been singing for decades she still sounds most authoritative.

It is overall an excellent recording which surpasses the other three recordings of the cycle led by Levine. Worth purchasing on its own.

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.