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Evans is shown at her best in the Todesverkündigung. Here she does not have to dominate the orchestra, and her beauty of line, concentration and well modulated shape pay dividends. It helps that Elming is on form in this scene as well [Listen -- CD5 track 5, 2:27-4:08].

The ending of Act 2 is as dramatic as we might expect. But here I must raise another quibble about the performing style on this set. The singers, the men in particular, resorting to shouting or sprechstimme in moments of crisis; Tomlinson and Elming are particular culprits, this is something Barenboim should have curbed as is disturbs the vocal/dramatic line.

The prelude to Act 3, the Ride of the Valkyries, is suitably thrilling and rewarding at Barenboim's hands. When the voices come in, things are a little less perfect however; the orchestra frequently teeters on the brink of drowning the voices, and one of the Valkyries has severe problems with her top Cs in the Hojotohos.

Nadine Secunde's Sieglinde has developed a more pronounced vibrato/wobble in her voice, presumably as she was tiring -- after all this is a live recording. But she rises to the climax thrillingly in O hehrstes Wunder, one of the loveliest moments in the whole cycle [listen -- CD6 track 4, 2:26-3:46], first Brünnhilde, then Sieglinde.

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Copyright © 7 August 2005 Robert Hugill, Strasbourg, France


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