View Poll Results: Who's #1?

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  • Friedrich Schorr

    3 12.50%
  • Hans Hotter

    12 50.00%
  • Ferdinand Frantz

    0 0%
  • Hermann Uhde

    0 0%
  • George London

    2 8.33%
  • Hans Hermann Nissen

    0 0%
  • John Tomlinson

    4 16.67%
  • James Morris

    1 4.17%
  • Theo Adam

    0 0%
  • Donald McIntyre

    1 4.17%
  • Thomas Stewart

    0 0%
  • Norman Bailey

    1 4.17%
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Thread: Who is the Greatest Wotan of All Time?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    Default Who is the Greatest Wotan of All Time?

    We've discussed this a bit in recent days so I've decided to bring back an old thread topic, but this time include a poll! Who you got?

    Post videos of your favorites even if not listed!
    Last edited by Bonetan; Apr-06-2019 at 00:54.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Vocally, maybe Friedrich Schorr. Dramatically, maybe Hans Hotter. But who knows, really? I'm always surprised by new discoveries of great singers/artists from the past. Many singers in the early days didn't make recordings, or could make them only in old age. The recordings were poor-sounding and the process of making them awkward and constraining.

    Wagner's first Parsifal, Hermann Winkelmann, made recordings twenty-some years later and sounds pretty awful, but he must have been good in 1882 or Wagner wouldn't have chosen him. We can only guess what Franz Betz, Wagner's choice for both Wotan and Hans Sachs, was like, but he was evidently the leading Sachs of his time and was said to be still "flawless" in his fifties.

    I chose Schorr in the poll on the strength of recordings he made, in his prime in the 1920s, of excerpts from both Sachs and Wotan. The man's voice was a human organ stop, and he was clearly a superior artist as well.

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  5. #3
    Senior Member Sieglinde's Avatar
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    Schorr and Hotter both sounded incredible. I have a deep love for McIntyre - there are more powerful voices out there but his Wotan is so human and vulnerable, he made me cry. And Tomlinson combines raw power with beautiful singing.

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    I can't decide between Schorr and Tomlinson and I'm glad they've been mentioned as I thought that Hotter would be on everyone's lips. I would need to listen to their recordings to compare and decide. (Although that wouldn't be a fair comparison as the Wotan I have of Schorr was made when he was past his best and Tomlinson was in his prime for the Barenboim Ring.)

    N.

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  8. #5
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Vocally, maybe Friedrich Schorr. Dramatically, maybe Hans Hotter. But who knows, really? I'm always surprised by new discoveries of great singers/artists from the past. Many singers in the early days didn't make recordings, or could make them only in old age. The recordings were poor-sounding and the process of making them awkward and constraining.
    That just about sums it up for me, to hear Schorr at his absolute best we are fortunate to have the famous HMV 1926-32 potted ring using the new "electrical" recording technology (microphones, amps etc) recorded extended ring segments at multiple venues over several year period.......later 1935-41 we have a few MET wagner radio broadcasts with Schorr, there is much to admire and learn from this great artist!

    The latest remaster by Obert-Thorn and Pristine XR brings potted ring to life like never before.......
    Anything before that is short samples made with acoustic recording tech




    I vote for Hotter as best wotan/wanderer even if I do concede Schorr was vocally more solid, Hotter fortunately had far better sound quality during iconic 1950s Bayreuth festivals, and his ability to emotionally bring the complex and conflicted wotan to life, always making the character sympathetic and dramatically challenging, the depth and nuance of his performance has never been surpassed for me..........all that followed are in his shadow
    Last edited by DarkAngel; Apr-06-2019 at 18:03.

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  10. #6
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    That just about sums it up for me, to hear Schorr at his absolute best we are fortunate to have the famous HMV 1926-32 potted ring using the new "electrical" recording technology (microphones, amps etc) recorded extended ring segments at multiple venues over several year period.......later 1935-41 we have a few MET wagner radio broadcasts with Schorr, there is much to admire and learn from this great artist!

    The latest remaster by Obert-Thorn and Pristine XR brings potted ring to life like never before.......
    Anything before that is short samples made with acoustic recording tech




    I vote for Hotter as best wotan/wanderer even if I do concede Schorr was vocally more solid, Hotter fortunately had far better sound quality during iconic 1950s Bayreuth festivals, and his ability to emotionally bring the complex and conflicted wotan to life, always making the character come alive and dramatically challenging, the depth and nuance of his performance has never been surpassed for me..........all that followed are in his shadow
    Agree 100%. Another thing that I think is sometimes overlooked when discussing Hotter & Schorr is the stature & majesty Hotter brought to the role on stage. Schorr was hardly Godlike in appearance while Hotter was striking on stage according to accounts I've read & people I've met who heard him live. I think that should give Hotter a clear edge over Schorr. The impact of the character on stage should count for a lot imo...

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  12. #7
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonetan View Post
    Agree 100%. Another thing that I think is sometimes overlooked when discussing Hotter & Schorr is the stature & majesty Hotter brought to the role on stage. Schorr was hardly Godlike in appearance while Hotter was striking on stage according to accounts I've read & people I've met who heard him live. I think that should give Hotter a clear edge over Schorr. The impact of the character on stage should count for a lot imo...
    Bonetan we expect no less that Hotter adoration with your HH avatar photo

    But you are right the highly modern stylized appearance of HH in 1950s Bayreuth and his tall stature made him look godlike carved from granite......


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  14. #8
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    Bonetan we expect no less that Hotter adoration with your HH avatar photo

    But you are right the highly modern stylized appearance of HH in 1950s Bayreuth and his tall stature made him look godlike carved from granite......

    Haha guilty as charged! Hotter is not my favorite Wotan voice, that would be Tomlinson, but when I think about all the things that make a great Wotan I don't believe any other singer brings the complete package like Hotter

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    Hotter gets my vote, but there is almost nothing more glorious than James Morris's final note in the Magic Fire Music on Levine's recording. He's the only thing I listen to on the Levine recording.

  16. #10
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gellio View Post
    Hotter gets my vote, but there is almost nothing more glorious than James Morris's final note in the Magic Fire Music on Levine's recording. He's the only thing I listen to on the Levine recording.
    Morris at least had the voice for the part, which is a lot more than I can say for most of those who've assumed the role since.

    I saw Morris at the Met in 1993, and the ease with which he sang the music and filled the house with sound was pretty remarkable. Unfortunately, he was not a particularly good actor, and despite being coached by Hotter in the role, his interpretation was pretty generalized. That's also the biggest problem with virtually all of the current singers of the role - some of them have enough voice for the music, but those that do make nothing of the text. And others, like Terfel, who do attempt to make interpretive points, do so with voices that really don't fill out the music.

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  18. #11
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    Morris at least had the voice for the part, which is a lot more than I can say for most of those who've assumed the role since.

    I saw Morris at the Met in 1993, and the ease with which he sang the music and filled the house with sound was pretty remarkable. Unfortunately, he was not a particularly good actor, and despite being coached by Hotter in the role, his interpretation was pretty generalized. That's also the biggest problem with virtually all of the current singers of the role - some of them have enough voice for the music, but those that do make nothing of the text. And others, like Terfel, who do attempt to make interpretive points, do so with voices that really don't fill out the music.
    Did you ever get to hear Tomlinson's Wotan live?

  19. #12
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonetan View Post
    Did you ever get to hear Tomlinson's Wotan live?
    No, and I've never heard him live in anything. He only sang a handful of RING performances at the Met, and was cast as Fafner and Hunding, not Wotan.

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  21. #13
    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    Morris at least had the voice for the part, which is a lot more than I can say for most of those who've assumed the role since.

    I saw Morris at the Met in 1993, and the ease with which he sang the music and filled the house with sound was pretty remarkable. Unfortunately, he was not a particularly good actor, and despite being coached by Hotter in the role, his interpretation was pretty generalized. That's also the biggest problem with virtually all of the current singers of the role - some of them have enough voice for the music, but those that do make nothing of the text. And others, like Terfel, who do attempt to make interpretive points, do so with voices that really don't fill out the music.
    Where do you rank Morris historically? This question is for everyone else too. Just how good was he?

  22. #14
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonetan View Post
    Where do you rank Morris historically? This question is for everyone else too. Just how good was he?
    That's a hard question to answer, since I saw and heard Morris live, and didn't see or hear Schorr or Hotter. Actually, the only other live Wotan I've seen is Terfel; I'll get to see Volle in a couple of weeks.

    That said, even given his limitations as an actor and interpreter, I have to rank Morris pretty high simply on the basis of his vocal endowment - probably just below Hotter and Schorr, along with Wotans like Nissen and Bockelmann. Tomlinson would probably fall into this group too, but I have to spend a little more time listening to him - I haven't listened to the Barenboim RING in quite a few years.

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  24. #15
    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    I just finished watching the Barenboim/Kupfer Ring and Tomlinson's comments re/ the production. God in Heaven help me: Tomlinson also has a GORGEOUS speaking voice! Melt.

    In case you don't own that Ring Cycle or have never heard Tomlinson and Barenboim's comments, I wanted you to know that Tomlinson mentions that he performed the role of Wotan in that production from 86 (rehearsals)-92 and then further into the 90's in Berlin. So, if you want to hear the opinion of his performance by someone who was in the audience that's the time period you should be searching. I will certainly keep your interest in mind as I do my searching on the internet.

    If you haven't seen Barenboim's and Tomlinson's brief comments, let me know when you will be online and I will record and upload that part of the DVD for a few hours.


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