Valery Gergiev Musical director & conductor
Jonas Kaufmann Siegmund
Mikhail Petrenko Hunding
René Pape Wotan
Anja KAmpe Sieglinde
Nina Stemme Brünnhilde
Ekaterina Gubanova Fricka
Zhanna Dombrovskaya Gerhilde
Irina Vasilieva Ortlinde
Natalia Evstafieva Waltraute
Lyudmila Kanunnikova Schwertleite
Tatiana Kravtsova Helmwige
Ekaterina Sergeeva Siegrune
Anna Kiknadze Grimgerde
Elena Vitman Roßweiße
Total duration 236m36s
Catalogue number MAR0527
James Mallinson producer
Vladimir Ryabenko engineering & editing
Jonathan Stokes & Neil Hutchinson for
Classic Sound Ltd mastering
Recorded June 2011, February & April 2012 at the Mariinsky Concert Hall, St Petersburg.
Sung in German. Libretto in German & English
Includes multi-channel 5.0 and stereo mixes.
Notes in English / en Francais / auf Deutsch / на русском языке
ICMA Nomination 2014 - Best Opera
Diapason d'Or Diapason
**** (max) Classica
ffff 'This sumptuously captured Valkyrie announces an Infernal Tetralogy.' Telerama
Opera Choice of the Month
***** Performance ***** Recording
'The Mariinsky Orchestra plays in vital form, its distinctive brass sound and succulent strings still yielding flashes of raw power at Valery Gergiev's hand… So far this recalls, and must rank with, the great Rings of the 1960s. More, please.'
BBC Music Magazine
***** 'The orchestral playing is excellent, especially lower woodwinds in solo passages, while the brass is superb. The recording, from the fine acoustic of the Mariinsky Concert Hall, is sumptuous.'
***** 'A sterling reading of superior value… Gergiev seems to have a natural affinity for Wagner's music… these readings from three separate concert performances spanning almost a year from 2011-12 are superior in all respects, a model of how surround Wagner should sound. Productions values remain high with texts and translations in an attractive booklet enclosed in a box. Not to be missed.' Audiophile Audition
****½ 'Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Kampe are the Wälsung twins, drawing you inexorably into the drama from the word go. Vocally Kaufmann is unmatched on record, a heroically dark tenor with ringing top notes. Kampe gives him a run for his money with full, rich tone and beautiful text work. Nina Stemme is a fine Brünnhilde, projecting the character's emotional journey better than any of her current contemporaries. The top is just a little under pressure but she compensates with perfect diction and considerable passion. René Pape is equally fine as Wotan, warmly resonant and powerfully inside the drama.' Limelight Magazine
***** 'So macht Wagner Spaß! Seit mindestens 15 Jahren gab es keine seiner Opern mehr in solcher Qualität auf CD zu genießen. Valery Gergiev … legt gleich mit dem ersten Streich die Latte richtig hoch… Ein Sängerfest, wie man es bei Wagner viel zu selten präsentiert bekommt.' Rondo
'Pape's realization of the part is the finest on a commercial recording of the stereo era... This is a Walküre for connoisseurs: a vitally engaged conductor leading singers with voices that are ideal for their parts and who understand their characters... This is going to be one hell of a Ring.' Fanfare
'In what may be the first Ring ever recorded in Russia, music director Valery Gergiev gathers the hottest cast on earth… Gergiev is magisterial in Wagner, a rampaging pagan among the gods. Ex-Decca producer James Mallinson rules the sound decks and the result in this, the first of four releases, is as gripping as any Wagner recording of recent times, a box to sit unblushing beside Solti's everlasting benchmark.'
Sinfini Music (Norman Lebrecht)
'In the first act at least, with Jonas Kaufmann as an incomparable Siegmund, Anja Kampe a profoundly moving Sieglinde and Gergiev pacing the performance to an overwhelming climax, the result is spellbinding. In fact, few performances on disc can match it for sheer excitement, or for Kaufmann's blend of easy power, immaculate diction and lyric beauty… Gergiev obtains transcendently beautiful playing from the Mariinsky Orchestra.' The Guardian
'This show belongs to Jonas Kaufmann (Siegmund), whose bronzed timbre is deeply satisfying whether in heroic or intimate utterance. His legato is immaculate, with many phrases taken in a single span where other tenors would be grabbing extra breaths.' International Record Review
'Essential listening no matter how many other Valkyries ride over your CD shelves… Alert to both the music's long line and the urgency of the moment, Gergiev partners as well as leads the performance… Stemme's Bruennhilde is an individual creation from her first Hoyotohos, sliced out of the air with a sculptor's precision, and keeps growing in stature and sympathy throughout the opera. Her solid low range anchors her interpretation, but what's more important is that the singing is so good you stop paying attention to it and follow Bruennhilde right into the fire.'
The Bay Area Reporter
'His conducting reminds one of Solti, not the blaring raucous Solti of later years but the one who conducted that first defining recorded Ring cycle back in the 50s and 60s… Gergiev reveals himself as a true Wagnerian.' Wagner News
'For his second complete Wagner opera recording on high-resolution hybrid SACD, Valery Gergiev has assembled an outstanding cast.'
San Francisco Classical Voice
'Recorded in hybrid super audio, Gergiev's reading, with world-class Wagnerian singers is a superlative addition that should go the top ten in the list very quickly. If the other Ring operas (scheduled to be released on the Mariinsky label later in 2013 and 2014) measure up to this one, we will have a phenomenal treasure for casual as well as hardcore Wagnerites.' CVNC
'Stemme has the measure of her role in spades and her strong, pure, just slightly chilled tones deliver memorably the great curve of Act 3 – fear, defiance, guilt, more defiance to almost flirtation.' Gramophone
'Gergiev whips his orchestra into waves and waves of such ecstasy that one is reminded of the miracles Furtwängler used to produce. Act II is the turning point of the Ring saga. Although it is very long and could get tedious with its lengthy dialogues and monologues Gergiev never lets the tension sag. The ominous, frightening minutes prior to the crucial fight is so ridden with anxiety that an electric charge can be felt in the air. What follows in Act III is a rousing Ride of the Walkyries in sonic splendour and a most heartrending Wotan's Farewell sung by probably today's greatest, most intelligent and powerful Wotan, René Pape.' WholeNote Magazine
'The opening shot of Gergiev's St. Petersburg Ring is out – and it's wonderful… The orchestral performance is full of lyricism and sweetness, tenderness, buttery brass and delicate touches.' Listen
'Eine tolle Walküre im Wagner-Jahr: Die neue Einspielung des ersten "Ring"-Tages stürmt von Beginn an los. Valery Gergiev und sein Mariinsky Orchester brillieren mit Effekten.' Spiegel.de
Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Orchestra
The highly anticipated first release from the most finely crafted Ring cycle of modern times, Die Walküre features a sensational cast of Anja Kampe, Jonas Kaufmann, René Pape, Nina Stemme, Mikhail Petrenko and Ekaterina Gubanova.
Der Ring des Nibelungen was the pinnacle of Richard Wagner's long and turbulent career and without question one of the greatest achievements in opera. Wagner wanted to create the perfect synthesis of music and drama and assumed total creative control of the project which was to take him 26 years to complete, with frequent interruptions. He introduced numerous innovations, not least the sheer scale of the project – typically a complete performance will last in excess of 15 hours, spread over four evenings. No other opera matches the scale or ambition of the Ring.
The Mariinsky Theatre has close connections with Wagner and his music. The composer conducted at the theatre and was even offered the post of Music Director. It is also believed to be the first place where any of the music from the Ring was performed. Since Valery Gergiev became Music Director of the Mariinsky, Wagner's music has once again become a core part of the theatre's repertoire, both in St Petersburg and on tour. The Mariinsky label's recording of Wagner's final opera Parsifal starring René Pape, Gary Lehmann and Violeta Urmana, was released in 2010 to international acclaim.