My personal favourite of the Chereau 1980 Ring productions
I vastly enjoyed all the productions of the 1980 Chereau-Boulez Ring Cycle. It does have have parts that may be seen as controversial, such as the staging approach and Manfred Jung(not ideal but better than expected I thought actually) though. Die Walkure was my personal favourite of these four performances. The costumes and sets have a more realistic approach than other productions I've seen such as the 1990 Met production going for the traditional approach, but I found it somewhat refreshing. The colour has more clarity than the other productions in their transfers, and the video and sound quality are well above acceptable as well. Wagner's music is so monumental, especially Wotan's Farewell, and not only is the orchestral playing lush and powerful throughout even in the strenuous loud moments of the big climax and the Walkurenritt and Pierre Boulez's conducting doesn't rush or drag. The performances are without any real weak link. Peter Hoffmann is a heroic and wholly believable Siegmund, much more attractive in voice and interesting in character than Jung as Siegfried. Jeannine Altmeyer is an often heartbreaking Sieglinde, and Matti Salminen gives perhaps the best account of the unyielding Hunding on DVD(likewise with his Hagen at the Met). Donald McIntyre is a suitably firm and authoritative Wotan with his voice still holding up for one of the most thrilling final lines of any opera. Gwyneth Jones is a vocally powerful and often intense Brunnhilde, she has been criticised for the lack of beauty in the high register but the commitment she brings to this huge role deserves much more credit than it does I feel. In conclusion, wonderful and my favourite of the 1980 Ring Cycle productions. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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