- Die Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), opera, WWV 86d
Performances of Wagner's operas at the Bayreuth Festival continued during World War II, even if irregularly, and judging from this live 1942 GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, musical standards remained high. In retrospect, it's almost impossible to assess a performance of this sort in isolation from the regime that presented it, but documents such as this are a part of history, and their significance is as undeniable as it is discomfiting. Although the sound quality of this radio broadcast is variable from disc to disc, it is clear that Bayreuth veteran Karl Elmendorff leads a finely molded and dramatically paced performance. The orchestra wins the greatest glory here, with beautiful playing in both "Siegfried's Rhine Journey" and the "Funeral Music." The most familiar name in the cast is the Siegfried, Set Svanholm; this recording dates from his only season at Bayreuth. As Brünnhilde, Marta Fuchs has many great moments, though the role does push her voice to its limits. Friederich Dalberg's robustly evil Hagen and Camilla Kallab (as Waltraute and the First Norn) are also strong assets. This is a GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG that devoted Wagnerites will want to hear, for its historical interest as well as the transcendent beauty it often approaches.
|Label:||Music & Arts Program|