Ben Heppner is that rarest of creatures, a true Wagnerian heldentenor. He has the golden tone, the gleaming technique, the endless passion, and the infinite breath of a heldentenor the likes of which has not trod the opera houses of the world since before the Second World War. In this spectacular collection of selections from Der Ring des Nibelungen, Heppner performs arias, if they can be called that, written for both Siegmund and his feckless son Siegfried. And not only is he terrific in both roles, he's remarkably different in both role. His Siegmund is heroic but wary and wise through terrible suffering with a heavier, more physical voice. His Siegfried is likewise heroic but impetuous and just about foolish in his guilelessness with a stronger, more agile voice. In either role, however, Heppner has the energy, lyricism, and innate sense of drama to make each part grand, glorious, and charismatic. With the characterful Burkhard Ulrich joining him as Mime in one of the excerpts from Siegfried and the magnificent Dresden Staatskapelle under the steady hand of Peter Schneider providing the accompaniment throughout, this disc will have to be heard by anyone who treasures great Wagner singing. Schneider and the Staatskapelle's solo turns in "Siegfried's Rhein Journey" and the "Funeral March" from Götterdämmerung are not quite on the same exalted level but still quite impressive, and Deutsche Grammophon's digital sound is extremely impressive.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), opera, WWV 86b|
|Siegfried, opera, WWV 86c|
|Die Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), opera, WWV 86d|