Discussion:
Too many Rings, did somebody say?
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Mike Scott Rohan
2015-09-24 15:57:23 UTC
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Have just heard that Naxos are to release a new concert-based Ring cycle from the Hong Kong Phil, conducted by Jaap van Sweden (his first anywhere!. Rheingold is already in the can, with an interesting cast, including Kim Begley as Loge, Peter Sidhom as Alberich, Michelle de Young as Fricka and, surprisingly, Matthias Goerne as Wotan. G. has been primarily a lieder singer, and a very good one, but lately he's sung Dutchman and Amfortas with some success -- but so did Fischer-Dieskau, and he wasn't that great as Wotan. Release some time this autumn, we're told. Walkure follows in January, with Goerne and de Young again, plus Stuart Skelton, familiar from Australia and Seattle, and Heidi Melton as the Volsungs -- a team I heard under Runnicles a year or two back, not at all bad.

Personally I have strong reservations about recording somebody's debut Ring, however good he may be. Naxos's Wagner list is pretty terrible so far, so they must want to strengthen it, and these performances are being heavily subsidized by China's Hong Kong government, so no doubt they're getting them cheap as well. Hong Kong's last Ring cycles under Edo de Waart apparently lost a fortune. I suspect this is part of a cultural offensive to improve their increasingly oppressive image -- panem et circenses.

Cheers,

Mike
Mike Scott Rohan
2015-09-24 20:03:49 UTC
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Naxos promo video:




Interestingly, they show a hi-def audio bluray case as well as the CD. Cast looks strong, but on this brief excerpt the conducting sounds fairly ordinary. Still, at Naxos prices this could be a good introductory version.

Cheers,

Mike
Jay Kauffman
2015-09-25 01:23:34 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Have just heard that Naxos are to release a new concert-based Ring cycle from the Hong Kong Phil, conducted by Jaap van Sweden (his first anywhere!. Rheingold is already in the can, with an interesting cast, including Kim Begley as Loge, Peter Sidhom as Alberich, Michelle de Young as Fricka and, surprisingly, Matthias Goerne as Wotan. G. has been primarily a lieder singer, and a very good one, but lately he's sung Dutchman and Amfortas with some success -- but so did Fischer-Dieskau, and he wasn't that great as Wotan. Release some time this autumn, we're told. Walkure follows in January, with Goerne and de Young again, plus Stuart Skelton, familiar from Australia and Seattle, and Heidi Melton as the Volsungs -- a team I heard under Runnicles a year or two back, not at all bad.
Personally I have strong reservations about recording somebody's debut Ring, however good he may be. Naxos's Wagner list is pretty terrible so far, so they must want to strengthen it, and these performances are being heavily subsidized by China's Hong Kong government, so no doubt they're getting them cheap as well. Hong Kong's last Ring cycles under Edo de Waart apparently lost a fortune. I suspect this is part of a cultural offensive to improve their increasingly oppressive image -- panem et circenses.
Cheers,
Mike
I heard Stuart Skelton sing Siegmund at the MET and he was really wonderful
wkasimer
2015-09-25 13:38:21 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Have just heard that Naxos are to release a new concert-based Ring cycle from the Hong Kong Phil, conducted by Jaap van Sweden (his first anywhere!. Rheingold is already in the can, with an interesting cast, including Kim Begley as Loge, Peter Sidhom as Alberich, Michelle de Young as Fricka and, surprisingly, Matthias Goerne as Wotan.
This is available for pre-order at Amazon UK, and it would appear the the download version is already available (and quite reasonably priced) for customers in the UK.

I'll certainly buy this to hear Goerne's Wotan, but based on the timings listed for Rheingold, I am not optimistic about van Zweden's conducting.

Bill
wkasimer
2015-09-25 13:40:21 UTC
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Post by wkasimer
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Have just heard that Naxos are to release a new concert-based Ring cycle from the Hong Kong Phil, conducted by Jaap van Sweden (his first anywhere!. Rheingold is already in the can, with an interesting cast, including Kim Begley as Loge, Peter Sidhom as Alberich, Michelle de Young as Fricka and, surprisingly, Matthias Goerne as Wotan.
This is available for pre-order at Amazon UK, and it would appear the the download version is already available (and quite reasonably priced) for customers in the UK.
I'll certainly buy this to hear Goerne's Wotan, but based on the timings listed for Rheingold, I am not optimistic about van Zweden's conducting.
Bill
Never mind about the "reasonably priced". Amazon UK's MP3 link is for a different recording, of course....
Mike Scott Rohan
2015-09-25 17:29:34 UTC
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Post by wkasimer
I'll certainly buy this to hear Goerne's Wotan, but based on the timings listed for Rheingold, I am not optimistic about van Zweden's conducting.
Bill
Yes, "mostly harmless" seems about right for the conducting. You can hear Goerne in a concert Wotan's Farewell on Youtube, with the San Francisco symphony under Eschenbach -- not much of a Wagnerian either, but ok here. Goerne has moments of sounding like F-D, and there's something a bit too careful about his vocal expression, but the voice has much more resonance in the lower register -- and more than Terfel, IMHO. I think it sounds quite promising. The rest of the cast is also rather good, as I said. Sidhom isn't the largest-voiced Alberich, but he's a good singing actor, as is Begley; David Cangelosi is a solid Mime, if not the most characterful. There's Stephen Milling too, and some decent enough Rhinemaidens. If the price is right, as you say, this stands to be quite worthwhile even with generalized conducting.

Cheers,

Mike

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