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What's your favorite Der Ring des Nibelungen?

  • Barenboim: Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra (1991 live recording)

    Votes: 5 5.8%
  • Böhm: Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra (1966/67 live recording)

    Votes: 6 7.0%
  • Boulez: Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra (1980 live recording)

    Votes: 2 2.3%
  • Furtwängler: Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome, Italian Radio Chorus Rome (1953 live recording)

    Votes: 2 2.3%
  • Furtwängler: Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra & Chorus (1950 live recording)

    Votes: 4 4.7%
  • Goodall: Sadlers Wells Opera Orchestra, English National Opera Chorus (in English)

    Votes: 3 3.5%
  • Haitink: Bavarian Radio Chorus, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Janowski: Staatskapelle Dresden, Dresden State Opera Chorus

    Votes: 2 2.3%
  • Karajan: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus

    Votes: 8 9.3%
  • Keilberth: Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra (1955 live recording)

    Votes: 14 16.3%
  • Knappertsbusch: Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra (1956 live recording)

    Votes: 4 4.7%
  • Krauss: Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra (1953 live recording)

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • Levine: Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Chorus

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • Solti: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna State Opera Chorus

    Votes: 30 34.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 4 4.7%
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How times have changed huh!? 50+ years ago there wasn't even one complete Ring cycle recording available, and now there are too many to count! I have a feeling this poll will have the largest number of votes for "other"...I tried to get all the big 'uns on the list, but I simply don't have enough room to cover them all! I suspect Solti will come out on top, but this one has me intrigued to see how the results pan out. :cool:
 

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This should be interesting... on overall sound quality, cast and execution I'm hard pressed to find an alternative to Keilberth's 1955 Testament release. Right below I would have the Krauss and Furty (1950), both Pristine releases, then the Bohm and Knap (57). Other that deserve mentions are Keilberth 52 & 53, as well as the Kempe '60...

As a side note, my experience with Haitnik's was not a good one for many reasons, but chief among them Eva Marton's "Brunnhilde" was, for me, abysmal.

So many greats to choose from!
 

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There are so many individual performances from numerous Ring cycles that I would never want to be deprived of, but I agree with chefti that for overall balance of sound and interpretation the 1955 Keilberth Bayreuth set takes the cake. All the chief singers are great artists. Hans Hotter commands the role of Wotan as no one ever has, and rises to all the great climaxes with astonishing steadiness and power. Wolfgang Windgassen, all told probably the most sympathetic and tireless of post-war Siegfrieds, is unstinting in this killing role, and at crucial moments truly heroic. It seems Keilberth was generally thought of as a somewhat sub-par conductor when he was alive, but his reputation has deservedly risen, and now listening to his conducting it makes one wonder why he wasn't always more highly regarded. Here he shows a consummate sense of timing and a wonderful flair for the dramatic. And I think it's worth getting the alternative Walküre and Götterdämmerung with Martha Mödl as Brünnhilde to hear the contrast between her and Astrid Varnay's awesome portrayal. There are several cast overlaps with the famous Solti recording obviously, though in my opinion Keilberth's interpretation is far better on the whole, and the singers are also in better voice.

Now if we were to pick out favorite recordings of each individual segment to make a dream Ring, that would be interesting. Just impulsively, maybe Solti's Rheingold, Leinsdorf's Walküre with Nilsson and Vickers, Keilberth's 1955 Siegfried and Furtwängler's 1950 La Scala Götterdämmerung?
 

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So many choices....and you asked for "favorite," which is not necessarily the one you think is "best." I voted for Furtwängler 1950 since right now if I could only keep one Ring it would be that one. But it's probably not what I consider the "best." That's probably Keilberth 1955 for best combination of singers - orchestra - conductor - sound quality, though Solti's studio version is also in the running for both titles.

I like Faustian's Dream Ring a lot.
 

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There are so many individual performances from numerous Ring cycles that I would never want to be deprived of, but I agree with chefti that for overall balance of sound and interpretation the 1955 Keilberth Bayreuth set takes the cake. All the chief singers are great artists. Hans Hotter commands the role of Wotan as no one ever has, and rises to all the great climaxes with astonishing steadiness and power. Wolfgang Windgassen, all told probably the most sympathetic and tireless of post-war Siegfrieds, is unstinting in this killing role, and at crucial moments truly heroic.
WT is correct among the general public Solti would win by a landslide but among the forum members here I suspect the 55 Keilberth will be recognized as the reference during modern Bayreuth era (post 51) I want to emphasize the point made by Faustian that not only are these technically great singers they are also the best "singing actors" able to harness the voice to paint vivid characterizations that make the performances come to life, Hotter and Varnay bring such realistic humanity to their characters it is just magical and worthy of great admiration.........

Speaking of Astrid I think her great legacy is becoming much more fully appreciated now (HFT and duck roll their eyes) with all these very good sound quality 1950s Rings being released by Walhall and Myto and now cheaply available to the public for discovery, to sing the prima wagner role of brunnhilde on the greatest wagner stage of Bayreuth for the entire 1950s decade when vocal giants walked the stage is a testament to this fine artist......
 

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Everyone knows that Testament have a Walküre and a Götterdämmerung from the second cycle of Keilberth's '55 Ring. They are however quite expensive. But what you may not know is that Walhall have the Walküre at a more reasonable price. I only noticed this when I was looking at the back cover on Amazon and it showed Varnay as Sieglinde and Mödl as Brünnhilde, thus revealing it as second cycle! And to my own personal delight I already had it! Yay!:lol: Btw I voted for other - Knappertsbusch '58.
 

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I have not been listening long enough to have formed a favorite. I have four of the Rings in the poll. So far of the eight Rings I own, I have only listened twice to each one, except only once for Janowski.

These are my favorites so far: Goodall Ring, Sawallisch Ring, Swarowsky Ring, Levine Ring

I also have these: Solti Ring, Krauss Ring, Janowski Ring, Neuhold Ring

The Swarowaky Ring is quite wonderful. And may even take precedence over my two Behrens as Brunnhilde Rings (Levine and Sawallisch). So then the problem would remain do I pick Goodall over an sung-in-German recording?

Nice to see someone already has picked Goodall. Maybe I will listen to that one next. Someday I hope to have settled on a favorite so I can vote.
 

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Unsurprisingly, I picked the 1950 Furtwangler La Scala Ring. The only other Ring that I think is close is Bohm/Bayreuth.

If we went opera by opera, I would pick the 1955 Keilberth for Das Rheingold, Bohm for Die Walkure and Siegfried, and Furtwangler/Scala for the Gotterdammerung.
 

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One thing I would add is that Solti's Ring is now a little out of fashion. Whilst on the whole I am not Solti's greatest fan and his Ring isn't perfect, it introduced me and many others to the wonderful world of the music of Wagner. That is something I'll always be grateful for.

I wish Thielemann could do a Ring with top class singers. That would be a set worth waiting for as his live recordings are poorly casted on the whole.
 

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One thing I would add is that Solti's Ring is now a little out of fashion. Whilst on the whole I am not Solti's greatest fan and his Ring isn't perfect, it introduced me and many others to the wonderful world of the music of Wagner. That is something I'll always be grateful for.

I wish Thielemann could do a Ring with top class singers. That would be a set worth waiting for as his live recordings are poorly casted on the whole.
With whom is Solti's Ring out of fashion?

I agree about Thielemann though. Fat chance of that happening with the dearth of top class Wagnerian singers in the opera world today. Now where did I leave that time machine?
 
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With whom is Solti's Ring out of fashion?

I agree about Thielemann though. Fat chance of that happening with the dearth of top class Wagnerian singers in the opera world today. Now where did I leave that time machine?
I think if you look on social media, people are ready now to criticise the Culshaw production. Also some of the singers were then past their prime. However, we only knew that when later recordings turned up. I think people find a lot of Solti's recordings harsh during that era but later on the sound mellowed.

Obviously Gergiev tried but failed to do a studio Ring but it was so poorly conducted with such an overrated orchestra. I do disagree though that there aren't many great singers who could do it in the studio.

Terfel-Wotan, Stemme- Brunnhilde, Kaufmann-Siegmund, Matilla-Sieglinde, Ekaterina Gubanova-Fricka, Vinke-Siegfried. Zeppenfeld-Hunding, Milling-Hagen. They're just some initial thoughts

That could do as a start
 

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I think if you look on social media, people are ready now to criticise the Culshaw production. Also some of the singers were then past their prime. However, we only knew that when later recordings turned up. I think people find a lot of Solti's recordings harsh during that era but later on the sound mellowed.

Obviously Gergiev tried but failed to do a studio Ring but it was so poorly conducted with such an overrated orchestra. I do disagree though that there aren't many great singers who could do it in the studio.

Terfel-Wotan, Stemme- Brunnhilde, Kaufmann-Siegmund, Matilla-Sieglinde, Ekaterina Gubanova-Fricka, Vinke-Siegfried. Zeppenfeld-Hunding, Milling-Hagen. They're just some initial thoughts

That could do as a start
If you cast Terfel as Wotan you've already ruined the entire cycle. His voice is not suited for the role. He'd make a fine Gunther though.
 

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Each to their own I suppose but Terfel is a proper bass-baritone IMHO and was great in the ROH Ring. Could never see him as a Gunther though.
IMO Terfel is better suited for more lyrical singing. He doesn't have the weight in the voice for a good Wotan. He ends up having to bark through a lot of the role which is a dead giveaway that he's not right for it. Personally I think his looks & temperment would be a better fit for Gunther who is a weaker character than Wotan who is the God of Gods. Terfel singing Wotan just goes to show that Wagner singing is not what it was.
 

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My favorite Ring at this time:


Of the Rings I have listened to, here is my approximate order of preference, which could change over time:

1. Sawallisch Ring
2. Swarowsky Ring
3. Levine Ring
4. Goodall Ring
5. Krauss Ring
6. Solti Ring
7. Janowski Ring
8. Neuhold Ring
 
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