Performer: Alfons Herwig, Arnold van Mill, Astrid Varnay, Elisabeth Schartel, Georgine von Milinkovic, Hans Hotter, Wolfgang Windgassen, Gustav Neidlinger
Orchestra: Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Conductor: Hans Knappertsbusch
Composer: Richard Wagner
Number of Discs: 13 CD box set
Format: APE (image+cue)
Size: 2.83 GB
CD 01-02 Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold), opera, WWV 86a
CD 03-05 Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), opera, WWV 86b
CD 06-09 Siegfried, opera, WWV 86c
CD 10-13 Die Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), opera, WWV 86d
1961 Bayreuth Kempe
This 1961 Orfeo/Kempe Ring may not be the top choice for collectors of Wagner’s great Music Tetralogy, but it is nice to have. REALLY nice to have. I think of it as a transitional Ring, containing elements from the 50’s as well as few of the artists who would be mainstays throughout the 60’s as well as some who had brief Bayreuth careers.
On top of the list is Kempe, energetic and often exhilarating, maintaining a good steady balance throughout the cycle. Next in line would be the folks at Orfeo, who have been given access to the original broadcast tapes of the Bayerischen Rundfunk and do a very nice job in remastering them. There is minimal stage noise and the audience in generally well behaved.
The singers themselves amount to a consistently high quality ensemble, with, in my opinion, no one really standing head and shoulders over everyone else. There are individual performances that are better than others, of course, but this is obviously a team effort with everyone pulling their weight with great success. A worthy investment for serious Wagnerians.