Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen, WWV 86a-d (1966- 1967)

These 1966/7 Bayreuth performances showcase veteran Bayreuth stalwarts giving their all in face of dwindling vocal resources (Greindl, Neidlinger, Mödl & Windgassen) alongside Birgit Nilsson and James King in more vibrant, communicative fettle than in the studio under Solti. Karl Böhm’s pacing may seem unduly hectic at times, yet he is a stickler for Wagner’s directives for relationships between tempos. The orchestral execution is a tad rough around the edges, but Philips’s miking captures a more ideal pit/stage balance than in the contemporaneous Solti and Karajan studio Rings. Note that a cheaper edition of this set is available on import, but minus the texts included here. –Jed Distler

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