5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
We already have an unqualified rave and a couple of "tut-tut, not so fast" reactions to this set. I have only a little to say about it. First, the sound is quite excellent (I never listen with headphones, so I can't address anything those might reveal). This is, in the main, a Bayreuth 50's cast, and hearing Windgassen and Modl in a different acoustic, captured by different engineers, was refreshing and enjoyable. There are a number of coughers throughout, and a fair amount of stage noise. The set ends, indeed, with a Big Bang. If these extraneous noises make it impossible for you to enjoy a live recording, be aware that they are noticeable. I purchased the set (I already have 20 or so) for Neidlinger's Amfortas, perhaps the only surviving recording of this great artist in this role. The hair-raising dramatic experience I hoped for is not really to be found here; he sounds either under-rehearsed or perhaps not settled into the part. It also sounds to me as if he wanders "off mike" a few times. Neverthelss, it is a very fine characterization, although not as fully formed or vocally commanding as one might wish. Hearing his quintessential "bad guy" sound is in itself intersting, as if Amfortas' wound has transformed his essentially noble nature in a vocal way. If he had sung the role more often, I expect he would have created the fascinating characterization that he doesn't quite achieve here, but I'm quite happy to have added a Neidlinger rarity to my collection--he is an artist whom I collect avidly, and, as other reviewers have justly pointed out, he is the definitive Alberich and Klingsor. I heard Neidlinger live only once, as the Siegfried Alberich at the Met around 1972, and his is the largest male voice I have ever heard in the theater, a huge, viscerally exciting sound. Modl is in very fine voice, secure throughout the range and reacting a little differently to her French audience than to her more familiar German ones, which I found interesting. Windgassen is in similarly fine voice and entirely within the character. As for Otto von Rohr--on this point I must respectfully disagree with the dismissive review. I would very much like to hear more of him, but there doesn't seem to be very much available. I found him vocally secure from bottom to top (and the top very satisfying and unforced). Hearing a healthy and vigorous voice singing tirelessly through this very long role, with a very appealing timbre and impeccable musicianship, was very enjoyable. Heinz Cramer as Klingsor and Frithjof Sentpaul as Titurel are artists not previously known to me; they sing well and characterize effectively, and hearing somebody in these roles other than the usual suspects is also a pleasure. I played the set through twice, and for the $20 I paid for it I am quite satisfied with my purchase. Obviously this is not a "definitive" recording, not a first or even a second choice; but if you love the work and enjoy a certain freshness and novelty (even with the thrice-familiar central couple), I find it a lot more interesting than more than a few much better-known sets. I leave the snarling about conductors to others. Leitner, more than holding his own, delivers a cogent, exciting account. No translation is included, but there is a very informative booklet with a synopsis, several good photographs of the artists (onstage as well as commercial headshots) and very welcome biographies of all the singers down to Hetty Plumacher, who sings three small roles. An attractive product for discerning collectors.