The Golden Ring – The Making of Solti’s “Ring” (Wagner Ring Cycle)

The Golden Ring  - The Making of Solti's
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Watching the Vienna Philharmonic, Georg Solti, and a stellar cast record Wagner’s immense Götterdämmerung for Decca in the fall of 1964 provides a thousand lessons in the art of working under pressure. For this classic documentary, The Golden Ring, a BBC camera crew eavesdropped as producer John Culshaw guided his engineering team through tricky technical maneuvers far removed from the relative ease of modern digital editing. What utter concentration and focus Birgit Nilsson, Wolfgang Windgassen, Gottlob Frick, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau bring to their collective and individual singing! Solti, for his part, oozes energy and exactitude as he pleads for greater precision and frets over details in the car en route to the sessions. There’s a generous selection of bonus audio tracks culled from the Solti Ring cycle, awesomely remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (the main program is in AC3 Digital mono). Director Humphrey Burton’s annotations offer fascinating anecdotes. A gripping release, in sum, and not just for opera fans. –Jed Distler

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