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Subject: Wishful Thinking: Immortal Performances' "Dream Ring"
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Sat, 9 Sep 2017 18:02:07 -0400

text/plain (50 lines)

While we are on the subject of wishful thinking re Met performances, I want to put in a plug 
for the "Dream Ring" from the outstanding Immortal Performances label.  This was a labor 
of love by Richard Caniell, IP's wizard restoration artist (that is what he is, IMO, an artist in 
his own right).  This Ring seamlessly combines different broadcast performances from the 
30s (and in Gotterdammerung, with some bits from 1950 and '51) to give us a complete 
Ring with a dream cast from that era.  (The only complete performance as it occurred, 
without editing, is the Met Siegfried with Melchior.)   The constants are Flagstad as 
Brunnhilde, Melchior as Siegmund and Siegfried, and Schorr as Wotan.  The conductors for 
the different operas are Bodanzky for Rheingold and Siegfried, Leinsdorf for Walkure, and 
Furtwangler (mostly) for Gotterdammerung.  Stiedry, from the Met 1951, puts in a brief 
appearance in Gotterdammerung but you would never know it.  (The Gotterdammerung is 
mostly from Covent Garden, 1937.)

As a result of Caniell's technical wizardry, we get to hear the 1937 Met Rheingold with the 
great Kerstin Thorborg as Erda instead of the very inadequate Doris Doe (was she a last 
minute substitute for someone else?), and a complete Walkure with Flagstad as Brunnhilde 
and Lehmann as Sieglinde.  (Lehmann and Flagstad did not sing a broadcast together; 
Caniell combines two Met performances conducted by Leinsdorf.)  Caniell also splices in 
Karin Branzell as Fricka (replacing Thorborg) so there is continuity of singers between 
Rheingold and Walkure.  There are significant edits in the Gotterdammerung to give us a 
cast with Flagstad and Melchior, as well as Ludwig Weber as Hagen (fantastic) and Eduard 
Habich as Alberich (from a Met Gotterdammerung, to have casting consistency in the role).

I know this all sounds like it would be a jarring patchwork, but I can't stress enough how 
smoothly all the edits are done, and even with the different conductors (sometimes in the 
same performance), the whole thing somehow comes across as a seamless, musically and 
interpretively coherent performance of the Ring.

Needless to say, the sound restoration is amazing, as is usual from IP.

Read more about it on Immortal Performances' website:

Anyone who loves the Ring really should check this one out.  It is great.    


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