Richard Wagner: Die Walküre - An Opera in 3 Acts
Die Walküre is the second of the four music dramas that constitute Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. The story of Die Walküre is based on the Norse mythology told in the Völsunga saga and the Poetic Edda. In this version, the Volsung twins Sieglinde and Siegmund, separated in childhood, meet and fall in love. This union angers the gods, who demand that Siegmund must die. Sieglinde and the couple's unborn child are saved by the defiant actions of Wotan's daughter, the title character, Valkyrie Brünnhilde, who as a result faces the gods' retribution.
"In this version of Wagner's Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), released by the record label Sterling, the Swedish soprano plays Brunilda, the Valkyrie in Germanic mythology. The story of Die Walküre, which is part of the Tetralogy, is based on Norse mythology told in the Völsunga saga and the Poetic Edda. Wagner's sensibility is beyond doubt in the musical presentation of the characters Sigmund, in the voice of tenor Sven-Olof Eliasson, and Sieglinde, played by soprano Lisbeth Balslev; Both are excited by what fate has prepared for them. It should be noted that the splendid bass-baritone soloists Leif Roar (Wotan) and the mezzo-soprano Minna Nyhus (Fricka) – Wotan's twin children separated in childhood – have a reckless relationship (an incestuous love) in which they fit perfectly. As Hunding, the bass Aage Haugland was suitably vile; His resonant dark bass was very careful. Francesco Cristofoli's musical direction is convincing; captures the fluctuating moods and depth of feelings divinely expressed in Wagner's leitmotifs. The Aarhus Symphony Orchestra did a very elaborate and deeply intuitive work. Christopher conducted this titanic opera vehemently and highlighted its terrifying orchestral sound." Marçal Borotau, Sonagram Magazine
"That the sound is remarkably good is evident from the opening bars depicting Siegmund’s desperate escape. A bit of clumping and creaking and stage noises are inevitable but can actually be quite atmospheric – and of course indicative of this being live...The conducting and playing are first rate – an absolutely lovely cello solo precedes Siegmund’s “Kühlende Labung gab mir der Quell” and the famous Ride of the Valkyries is splendid, despite a couple of singers struggling..."Ralph Moore
"For a 1987 recording, a live one at that, one might think that the sound quality might even now seem somewhat dated, or at least surpassed by today’s gleam of a perfectly recorded orchestral palette. Not a bit of it. Put your headphones on, close your eyes and revel in the magnificent sound of the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra; its rich, melancholy cello playing, and throughout the string section, the immediacy, the close-up, gutsy sound of real, present-before-you violins ~ not a studio-engineered sheen... Brunnhilde’s defiance of Wotan (sung by the splendidly-named bass-baritone, Leif Roar) is one of the great moments in Wagner, and it is clear from this Danish performance that Laila Andersson-Palme has the full measure of her brave, but foolhardy character ~ foolhardy, because she ends the opera, thanks to Wotan, on an inaccessible mountain peak, cut off from the world by a circle of magic fire, which only a true hero could breach.... This Wagner box set is a firmly recommended for those who seek true realism in their listening, not just the authentic Wagnerian atmosphere generated by the singers and orchestral players, but by the inclusion of the wild applause of that 1987 Danish audience ~ transporting you to the very edge of the stage. And with an informative booklet, synopsis and interview with Laila Andersson-Palme in which she discusses her career and the challenges of performing Wagner, this is an opera CD not to be missed." Stuart Millson, The Quarterly Review