Die Walküre

Robert F. Denzler
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
4 May 1951
Victoria Hall Genève
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
SiegmundTorsten Ralf
HundingHerbert Alsen
WotanLudwig Hofmann
SieglindeHelene Werth
BrünnhildeGertrude Grob-Prandl
FrickaGeorgine von Milinković
HelmwigeNancy Waugh
GerhildeIlona Steingruber
OrtlindePolly Batic
WaltrauteNasia Berowska
SiegruneNelly Turtach
GrimgerdeGeorgine von Milinković
SchwertleiteIlonka Dostal
RoßweißeEdmée Défago
David Harbin

I recently bought a copy of a 1951 live Walkure, recorded in Victoria Hall, Geneva. The concert performance was made weeks after the Geneva opera house burned down.

Golly. First, the sound is first-rate with all sections of the orchestra remarkably clear and the voices are well integrated within the sound picture. Unlike many broadcast Bayreuth recordings from the same period the timps and horns have real impact, for example as Siegmund pulls out the sword and the thunder claps in the opening prelude. You can hear the hall, which I like as there is air around voices and instruments.

Werth is a steady and charming Siegline, with real youth and beauty in her voice. I believe her Sieglinde totally and it is one of the best I’ve ever heard. How on earth has this voice slipped beneath the radar?

Ralf is also steady and assured, with passion in the final scene of Act I. Grob-Prandl is all one could ask for. Real heft but also the ability to melt into the character rather than just belt out the role. Most impressive.

The total surprise was Denzler. He shapes the drama in a most exciting way and hears the colours in the score. Amazing that his recording profile is virtually non-existant.

My comments are tempered by the fact that CD3 on the set is faulty and does not play at all. An acid test in Walkure is obviously the Farewell, especially the orchestral crescendo as Wotan kisses away Brunnhilde’s godhead. Having heard Acts I and II I am extremely excited about getting the replacement set and hearing the performance complete.

22 May 2005 (OPERA-L Archives)

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Media Type/Label
Gebhardt, Walhall Eternity
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Technical Specifications
550 kbit/s VBR, 44.1 kHz, 693 MiB (flac)
Broadcast of a concert performance