Wagner: Siegfried (in English)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Siegfried (in English)
PERFORMER: Alberto Remedios, Rita Hunter, Norman Bailey, Derek Hammond-Stroud, Gregory Dempsey, Clifford Grant; Sadler’s Wells Opera Orchestra/Reginald Goodall
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3045(4) ADD Reissue (1974)
This was the first part of Reginald Goodall’s famous Sadler’s Wells Ring to be recorded by EMI in the Seventies, though it’s the second to appear in Chandos’s welcome set of remastered reissues. It is, of course, sung in English – in Andrew Porter’s clear and clever translation – by a true ensemble, singing words that we and (more importantly) they can understand, in performances honed over many years spent together in the rehearsal studio and on stage. As such, it is that rare thing on disc, a genuinely unique record of a real artistic achievement – one that those of us who experienced it in the theatre will never forget and will want others to share through hearing these recordings. The key, of course, was Goodall’s conducting: spacious, yes, but never, to my ears, lacking forward momentum, and always allowing room for the score’s many voices, human and instrumental, to breathe and flourish. He had a cast to match, led by Norman Bailey’s questing Wotan and Rita Hunter’s radiant Brünnhilde, her voice as bright and shining as the sunlight she salutes on wakening. As for Alberto Remedios’s boyishly carefree wild-child of a Siegfried, does any other tenor on disc sing the role with such unflaggingly fresh, sweet yet heroic tone? Mark Pappenheim