Following the Naxos Ring because it has emerged piecemeal since 2015 has changed into a disappointing expertise. The recordings and steered the cycle would possibly turn into an actual bargain-price various to the half-century basic accounts already out there. But there was uneven casting within the , and that lack consistency and coherence appears much more pronounced on this remaining instalment, recorded, just like the others, in live performance in Hong Kong 10 months earlier.
Some components have remained at a excessive normal all through – particularly the standard the taking part in the Hong Kong Philharmonic, specifically the authority conducting. His management the large musical and dramatic paragraphs Götterdämmerung is at all times assured, and the orchestral set items – the Rhine Journey and Siegfried’s Funeral March – have an undeniably spectacular dramatic presence. But vocally the performances are a lot much less exceptional, with no continuity among the many main roles from the earlier operas.
So right here we now have the cycle’s third completely different Brünnhilde (, this time) and its second Siegfried (); the one singer who has featured earlier than is Michelle DeYoung, who was Fricka in Rheingold and Walküre, and is Waltraute right here. Such inconsistency could not have mattered within the dwell live performance performances spaced a yr aside however is lower than supreme when heard on disc as half a unified cycle. As it seems, the casting is rarely insufficient, simply unremarkable. Both Barkmin and Brenna would most likely cross muster in one-f performances on stage, however neither measures as much as the prevailing competitors on disc, and it’s solely implacably darkish Hagen that conveys that sense enduring authority. For all its good moments and a few fascinating particular person contributions, this doesn’t add as much as a Ring that matches the competitors.
This week’s different classical picks
The live performance stagings three surviving operas that John Eliot Gardiner toured internationally with an distinctive troupe soloists and his personal Monteverdi Choir was the excellent celebration the 450th anniversary Monteverdi’s start final yr. Now Gardiner’s performances are starting to seem on his personal label SDG. The first is Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, recorded in Wrocław on the finish the tour. The forged, with Furio Zanasi as Ulysses and Lucile Richardot as Penelope, is similar because it was in at the start the venture, and with intimately vivid sound, it’s arguably as satisfying a model Monteverdi’s penultimate masterpiece as any at the moment out there on disc.