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Well that ought to be an interesting story.
Karajan used Ludwig as the Act 2 Kundry and left Höngen to sing the Acts 1 & 3 Kundry for reasons best known to himself.
 

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Wagner: Parsifal

Hans Hotter, Jess Thomas, Irene Dalis, George London, Gustav Neidlinger
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Hans Knappertsbusch

I'm unsure which of Kna's Parsifals I like better. This one has better sound, better orchestral playing, better choral work, and is also a bit quicker which to me gives more direction to the opera. But I keep returning to the earlier one, which I seem to like more when listening to it in one sitting. Both are incredible recordings and I would be satisfied if I had either of them.

Product Font Amber Material property Automotive lighting
 

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As it's from a live performance, maybe they recorded the acts on different evenings?
Nope. Same evening, 1st April 1961. It was Karajan’s idea and the audience was as baffled as the critics. His extremely dark staging didn’t get any plaudits either. As I said, weird!😎
 

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Richard Wagner: Das Rheingold
Herbert von Karajan: Berliner Philharmoniker (1967)
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Josephine Veasey, Zoltán Kelemen, Gerhard Stolze, Oralia Dominguez, et al.

This is the recording from which my avatar originated (well, strictly, the picture is Karajan rehearsing for the 1968 Salzburg Easter Festival's Das Rheingold). Thus the recordings made just ahead of the festival could be used to aid him in rehearsal, as well as to essentially have Deutsche Grammophon subsidize much of the rehearsal process itself. I'm hoping to work my way through this entire Ring within the next week, but we'll see. As a coherent whole, this Ring is certainly in my top three Rings ever recorded and I'm happy to revisit it once again.
 

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Tristan, Bayreuth 1964. Rather good. Neidlinger is in unfamiliar mode as Kurwenal and Hotter is an interesting Marke. Nilsson and Windgassen are their usual reliable selves, Nilsson in particular is just superb.
 

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Richard Wagner: Die Walküre
Herbert von Karajan: Berliner Philharmoniker (1966)
Jon Vickers, Gundula Janowitz, Régine Crespin, Thomas Stewart, Martti Talvela, Josephine Veasey

This was recorded before Karajan's Das Rheingold, a fact I often forget. Perhaps that is because of how structurally cohesive this Ring is, despite having two Wotans, two Brünnhildes, and two Siegfrieds. I also like how Karajan chooses smaller but more youthful voices than usual; since Siegmund and Sieglinde never have a proper love duet, Vicker's powerful voice never clashes with or overwhelms Janowitz. The Berlin Philharmonic is, of course, superb. Really an amazing recording, even by itself, and even more so when considering how it fits into Karajan's integral Ring.
 

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Richard Wagner: Die Walküre
Herbert von Karajan: Berliner Philharmoniker (1966)
Jon Vickers, Gundula Janowitz, Régine Crespin, Thomas Stewart, Martti Talvela, Josephine Veasey

This was recorded before Karajan's Das Rheingold, a fact I often forget. Perhaps that is because of how structurally cohesive this Ring is, despite having two Wotans, two Brünnhildes, and two Siegfrieds. I also like how Karajan chooses smaller but more youthful voices than usual; since Siegmund and Sieglinde never have a proper love duet, Vicker's powerful voice never clashes with or overwhelms Janowitz. The Berlin Philharmonic is, of course, superb. Really an amazing recording, even by itself, and even more so when considering how it fits into Karajan's integral Ring.
Been listening to the clips. Really an awesome recording! Might have to get a copy.
 

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Been listening to the clips. Really an awesome recording! Might have to get a copy.
I would have thought that this would already be in your collection!😎
 

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Richard Wagner: Siegfried
Herbert von Karajan: Berliner Philharmoniker (1968)
Jess Thomas, Thomas Stewart, Helga Dernesch, Gerhard Stolze, Karl Ridderbusch, Oralia Dominguez, Catherine Gayer

I found Gramophone's original reviews of this Ring, which are available here: (link). The review for Siegfried is mostly a comparison between Karajan and Solti, because those were the only two commercially available recordings at the time. Both share Gerhard Stolze as Mime, but he is less extreme for Karajan. At the end of his review, Alec Robertson says that Solti's conducting is more rhythmical, while Karajan's is more lyrical. I think there is some truth to that. The orchestra is so different from Solti's, but I wouldn't want to be without either. Karajan's casting continues to feature youthful voices (compare Thomas Stewart to Hans Hotter, or Jess Thomas to Wolfgang Windgassen here). A combination of his firm grip over the orchestra and Deutsche Grammophon's engineering result in the voices being placed forward compared to the Solti Ring, even though many of the voices in Karajan's recording were smaller in size. For me, though, the primary reason to hear this particular recording is for the orchestra and conducting; the Berlin Philharmonic is on their top form here!
 

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I would have thought that this would already be in your collection!😎
My MP3 folders show I have 18 complete Rings. This would be considered OCD by many. And no Karajan! I confess I have had an aversion to Karajan (and Solti too, though I have his Ring). Don't ask why because it is probably an irrational aversion. At any rate I am close to pulling the trigger on the Karajan Walkure. We'll see. Worth it just for Janowitz!
 

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My MP3 folders show I have 18 complete Rings. This would be considered OCD by many. And no Karajan! I confess I have had an aversion to Karajan (and Solti too, though I have his Ring). Don't ask why because it is probably an irrational aversion. At any rate I am close to pulling the trigger on the Karajan Walkure. We'll see. Worth it just for Janowitz!
18 is by no means OCD, certainly not by my reckoning!!
 

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18 is by no means OCD, certainly not by my reckoning!!
You enabler!

So the next problem is, if I buy only Karajan's Walkure, then I will likely feel compelled to get the rest of his Ring. So I need to consider, do I make the big leap now or just dip my toes in the water and plunge in later. Could be more costly if I piecemeal it.
 

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Haydn, Mozart, Vivaldi, Wagner, Brahms, Schumann
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You enabler!

So the next problem is, if I buy only Karajan's Walkure, then I will likely feel compelled to get the rest of his Ring. So I need to consider, do I make the big leap now or just dip my toes in the water and plunge in later. Could be more costly if I piecemeal it.
Karajan's Ring is a must have.
 
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