Götterdämmerung

Georg Solti
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London
Date/Location
14 September 1963
Royal Opera House Covent Garden London
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
Cast
SiegfriedWolfgang Windgassen
BrünnhildeBirgit Nilsson
GuntherThomas Stewart
GutruneMarie Collier
AlberichOtaker Kraus
HagenGottlob Frick
WaltrauteJosephine Veasey
WoglindeBarbara Holt
WellgundeGwyneth Jones
FloßhildeMaureen Guy
1. NornMonica Sinclair
2. NornMargreta Elkins
3. NornRita Hunter
Gallery
User Reviews
Mark Hood

The new Götterdämmerung production at Covent Garden in 1963 began on the 11 September but really started a week before at the Royal Albert Proms on the 6th September with a performance of Act 3 with the full cast. It had a such a tremendous reception that great things were expected at the premiere. By and large no one was disappointed.
This Act 3 exists as a BBC Stereo Transcription recording in the most amazing sound.

Covent Garden assembled the strongest cast possible at that time with Nilsson , Windgassen, Frick, Stewart, Kraus, Collier, Veasey and among the rest of the cast, two future Brünnhildes, Rita Hunter as the third Norn and Gwyneth Jones as Wellgunde. Nilsson was singing her last Brünnhilde at Covent Garden, she had taken such great offence to a newspaper criticism from the previous year that she refused to sing the roles any further in London except the1963 performances which she had contracted for long before.
Not much would be lost as the 1965 Ring would have Amy Shuard singing instead.
Nilsson would return to CG for other roles but we never again were to hear her in the Ring.
The principals were all in fine form and Solti did not overpower the singers too much. The orchestra and chorus were also in fine form. Solti had “borrowed” Wilhelm Pitz from Walter Legge at the Philharmonia in London to work with the chorus for this production. It certainly improved them, especially in pronunciation, they had never sounded so good.
The Hagen of Gottlob Frick was a standout, his scene with Alberich (Otakar Kraus) in Act 2 particularly so – no wonder there, they had been singing these roles together at Bayreuth since 1960 under Kempe.
Windgassen and Nilsson had such a rapport with one another, it would hardly have mattered who was conducting. Their “Zu neuen Taten..” was splendid. Windgassen was particularly good in Act 2 and his death scene was exceptional. Thomas Stewart, at the start of his distinguished Wagnerian career excelled himself as Gunther as also did Marie Collier as his sister. Josephine Veasey deserves mention for her portrayal as Waltraute.
Solti who had yet to record this Opera in Vienna for Decca again produced an interpretation different to that which he would put down on tape in Vienna a year later. Without the influence of John Culshaw, Solti was a different man. The Vienna recording had the great sound, but here we have a much better performance.

This is very satisfying to listen to and the sound quality is very good indeed.

Rating
(8/10)
User Rating
(4/5)
Media Type/Label
OD
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Technical Specifications
128 kbit/s CBR, 44.1 kHz, 238 MByte (MP3)
Remarks
Broadcast (BBC 3)
A production by Hans Hotter (1963)