Marek Janowski

Richard Wagner: Götterdämmerung

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PentaTone's 2013 release of Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung concludes Marek Janowski's extraordinary concert recordings of the ten mature operas, and with it, this audiophile series ends on a high note. As in the previous sets, the playing of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra is exemplary, and Janowski lets the musicians shine even brighter in this final Ring opera. Some Wagner enthusiasts will listen to this SACD presentation mainly for the wonderful richness and sonic depth of the orchestra, and they'd be well within their rights, because the ensemble's sound and the multichannel recording are superb in every measure. But the singing shouldn't be overlooked. Despite a number of critics who have lamented the unevenness of the casts in this series, the vocals in Götterdämmerung are generally quite strong, with outstanding performances from Petra Lang as Brünnhilde and Matti Salminen as Hagen. The only disappointment is an underwhelming Siegfried, sung variably by Lance Ryan. Still, considering that this recording was assembled from the best parts of ten performances, the production is quite even throughout, and it has the clean details, transparent acoustics, and consistent levels of a studio recording, always a plus in a live Wagner recording.

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