Wagner’s Flying Dutchman
Aug 28, 2006 10:21 pm
This is a favorite opera but I can never really settle on a favorite version. There are just too many good choices, but never one that stands out as great. My list of prospects reflects a) I have never found the ideal version and b) I tend to like more recent recordings. There are some good older recordings with Gwyneth Jones, Kirsten Flagstadt and Leonie Rysanek, but these were never to my taste and so I will leave it to someone else to expound upon their virtues.
Cheryl Studer, Bernd Weikl, Placido Domingo, Peter Seiffert, Hans Sotin, Ute Priew with Giuseppe Sinopoli and the Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra from 1991. Probably my first choice. A good cast with excellent voices and a good sense of drama. Has some great moments but does not quite come together as I hoped it would.
James Morris, Paul Groves, Jan-Hendrik Rootering, Deborah Voigt, Birgitta Svendén, Ben Heppner with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. This is a good second choice. Another good cast, Morris and Heppner are really good although I have never been as excited about Deborah Voigt as others seem to be. The orchestra is very exciting on this one.
Anja Silja, Martti Talvela, Annelies Burmeister, Ernst Kozub, Gerhard Unger, Theo Adam with Otto Klemperer and the New Philharmonia Orchestra from 1968. This is an older recording and I am not always a fan of the conductor or the orchestra but I seem to keep coming back to this one for some reason. It may lack some of the great moments of the others but I think it may be a more balanced performance overall.
José Van Dam, Kaja Borris, Peter Hofmann, Dunja Vejzovic, Kurt Moll, Thomas Moser with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra from the early 1980’s. Another good possibility.
Nina Stemme, Patricia Bardon, Kim Begley, Peter Wedd, Eric Halfvarson, John Tomlinson with David Parry and the London Philharmonic Orchestra recently released in 2004. This may be the best one yet. It is so close to that elusive great version I have always wanted. The cast is excellent but somehow I cannot seem to get over the idea of Wagner in English. And so the quest continues…