Those of us who remember attending performances of Birgit Nilsson sometimes wonder whether we are living in a delusion – falling into our grandfathers’ habitual complaints that, when we were young, the singers were so much better, the cheese more tasty, winters crisper, and walking to school was uphill both ways...
We pause in our Wagner musings for a report on a purveyor of pure beauty. Sony has released a huge (61-CD, 3-DVD) collection of the complete recordings under its label by Austrian cellist and conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016). To sample through this gargantuan box is to hop from one point of perfection to another. […]
The knight Walther is too often experienced by the audience through Eva’s eyes – handsome, strong, rebellious within acceptable boundaries, virile, dashing, a born artist and a hell of a tenor. A recent performance of avid McVicar’s insightful Gyndebourne/Chicago/San Francisco production, and a careful listen to the Reginald Goodall English-language recording, suggests that the truth […]
Halfway through the collection of “Legendary Performances” released by the Met this year, several surprises came to the fore. One was how poor the chorus at the Met was in the 1940s and 1950s. It was as if they dragged folks in from the street to have a go at the Pilgrim’s Chorus. Apparently the […]
Our valued colleague at The Wagnerian blog has brought to our attention the planned release of a trove of historical recordings of performances of Wagner works by the Metropolitan Opera. The recordings have been remastered, and the artists include Melchior, Flagstad, Hotter, Varnay, Reiner, Szell and the rest of the gang. It is available from early […]