Wagner: Die Walküre (in English)

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LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Die Walküre (in English)
PERFORMER: Alberto Remedios, Norman Bailey, Margaret Curphey, Rita Hunter, Clifford Grant, Ann Howard; ENO Orchestra/Reginald Goodall
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3038(4) Reissue (1976)
Hans Richter, who premiered Wagner’s Ring at Bayreuth, also conducted its Covent Garden debut in 1908. In English. So when, 60 years on, Reginald Goodall was rescued from the cleaners’ washroom (nicknamed ‘Valhalla’) where his Royal Opera bosses had abandoned him and asked by Sadler’s Wells (now ENO) to conduct new productions – in English – of both Mastersingers and the Ring, it was in a tradition stretching back almost to Wagner himself. As was Goodall’s conducting: weighty, sonorous, slow-moving but surely paced and deeply supportive of the voices. And what a cast he had, led by Remedios’s ardent, lyrical Volsung, Hunter’s ample, shining Valkyrie, Bailey’s warmly wise Wotan. Peter Moores, the Littlewoods heir, coaxed EMI into taping a cycle live during the Seventies. Now Chandos (current champions of Moores’s Opera in English campaign) are reissuing it, cleanly remastered. By the time Twilight of the Gods appears in June, ENO will have broached a new Ring cycle. A pity then that, just as a fresh generation of Wagnerites gets to know Andrew Porter’s trusty translation through these CDs, ENO has chosen to replace it. Mark Pappenheim