I took a Road Trip in August and brought along some Bach chamber music, the complete Bruckner Symphonies, and Reginald Goodall’s EMI recording of the Ring, from performances at the Coliseum in 1977. I first attended the Ring in late 1976 at the Coliseum and so these English language recordings claim a special place in my heart. I’ve dipped into them now and then, and when I did so...
Nilsson: The Great Live Recordings
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...
Sony’s Set of Nikolaus Harnoncourt
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. […]
Die Meistersinger: Sons-in-Law
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 […]
The Met Historic Collection
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 […]