The Ring Cycle is the very definition of epic, and up there with Wagner's finest work. Das Rheingold is the first part, and a compelling opera it is. This production is a triumph, all four 1992-1993 Ring Barenboim-conducted performances are brilliant with only the ending of Gotterdammerung coming across as truly disappointing, but of the four my favourite is between this and Siegfried. Visually, Das Rheingold of the four productions was the most interesting especially in the stage effects representing the Rhine, and the technical parts of the DVD are equally impressive, as is Henry Kupfer's trademark work with the singers.
Musically, it blew my mind, right from the powerful orchestral playing particularly in the Rhinedaughters' motif and Alberich's Curse, to Daniel Barenboim's very dynamic conducting, always paying close attention to phrasing and other musical details. The performances are of high quality, with the standout being John Tomlinson. As much as I do love Terfel, Morris and McIntyre in the role, Tomlinson for me with his authoritative presence and resonant voice is the best Wotan on DVD. Fasolt and Fafner are slight disappointments in look(giant bodies yet small heads), however this is compensated by the fact that Matthias Holle and Phillip Kang's performances are so good, with their singing as powerful as their towering presence over the stage.
Also worth of note are the touching Erda of Birgitta Svendon, the skin-crawling and grumpy Alberich of Gunter Von Kannen and especially Graham Clark's lightning-sharp Loge. Overall, an epic and triumphant performance of a Wagnerian masterpiece. Tomlinson(though he would have juicier music in Siegfried and particularly Die Walkure) and the musical values are the things to watch out for. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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