Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Teldec
WORKS: Der fliegende Holländer
PERFORMER: Hermann Uhde, Astrid Varnay, Ludwig Weber, Rudolf Lustig; Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra/Joseph Keilberth
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-97491-2 ADD mono Reissue
Once one gets used to the rather pinched mono sound, there is a gripping performance to be heard here. It comes from the 1955 Bayreuth Festival and the heyday of the Wagner grandsons’ production revolution that swept pictorialism from the operatic stage. Keilberth was a stalwart of the German operatic repertoire until his death – the result of over-exertion conducting a performance of Tristan – in 1968, though his appearances at Bayreuth weren’t numerous. His conducting here occasionally takes on a rhythmically rather unyielding manner, such as in the Overture and the Spinning Chorus, but he whisks things up into an incandescent frenzy where needed in the climaxes. Hermann Uhde is one of the most authoritative and commanding Dutchmen on disc, and Astrid Varnay, although prone to the odd whine, presents the character of Senta as someone who will stop at nothing to get her dream man. Matthew Rye