OP3241. DIE WALKURE, Live Performance, 25 July, 1976, w.Boulez Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Donald McIntyre, Peter Hofmann, Gwyneth Jones, Hannelore Bode, Matti Salminen, Eva Randova, etc. [The second day of the First Cycle - a far superior version than the later performance already available on Video, these CDs [not DVDs] are in breathtakingly brilliant stereo sound!] [Regarding this performance, note the fascinating BOULEZ IN BAYREUTH book, B0058] (Canada) 3-St Laurent Studio YSL T-645. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"As a member of the audience at the first performance of the Boulez RING in 1976, I can attest that this performance is clearly superior to the DVD version from three years later. Both Jones and McIntyre are in finer voice, and the freshness of the performance and Boulez's conducting remain an unexpected marvel.. What a 'find'."
- Tom Simone, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
"Boulez's ultimate achievement as a recording artist is the video of the RING, filmed in Bayreuth, in which his lithe conducting provides the perfect counterweight to ChÃ©reau's convulsive directorial vision to become available on home video on VHS tape and on LaserDisc, as well as being released on Philips LPs and compact discs. [The now-offered performance is a CD presentation of the earlier performance.]"
Alex Ross, THE NEW YORKER, 25 Jan., 2016
"Donald McIntyre was one of the noted bass-baritones of the second half of the twentieth century. He was a fine actor with a compelling stage presence and a full, rich voice that made him ideal for heroic baritone parts and one of the favorite Wagner singers of his time.
His Covent Garden debut was in 1967 as Pizarro in Beethoven's FIDELIO, but he made his strongest early impression at Covent Garden that same year as Barak in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN.
By then he had gained a considerable reputation as a beginning Wagnerian singer, and was asked to debut at Bayreuth in 1967 as the Telramund in LOHENGRIN. In 1973 he became the first British singer to sing the role of Wotan in a complete cycle of the Wagner RING DES NIBELUNG at the Bayreuth Festival. He repeated the feat at Covent Garden beginning in 1974 with a Covent Garden Cycle that began that year with Colin Davis conducting, and debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1975, again as Wotan.
In 1976, he starred in the Centennial production of the RING at Bayreuth in the controversial production conducted by Pierre Boulez."
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
"Dame Gwyneth Jones has achieved remarkable success throughout her vocal career. Best known for her performances of Turandot and the role of Brunnhilde, she has brought an attractive stage presence, total musicianship, a highly controlled voice, and thorough emotional and dramatic involvement to all of her appearances.
Gwyneth Jones was born in Pontnewynydd, Wales; her professional debut, as a mezzo-soprano, was the role of Annina in DER ROSENKAVALIER with the Zurich Opera in 1962. Shortly afterwards, she noticed her voice moving upward, which allowed her to sing the role of Amelia in UN BALLO IN MASCHERA. She was also heard singing Lady Macbeth for the Welsh National Opera and the Royal Opera, and heard filling in for Leontyne Price and Regine Crespin at Covent Garden. After performing roles such as Santuzza, Desdemona, Donna Anna, Aida, and Tosca, she made appearances at the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, and at principal opera houses in Berlin, Paris, Hamburg, and Rome. Shortly after Jones made her 1966 American (New York) debut as the title role in Cherubini's MEDEA, she married Till Haberfeld, a director, with whom she had one child. She achieved American success with her performance of Fidelio with the San Francisco Opera and for her Metropolitan Opera debut as Sieglinde in DIE WALKURE on 26 November. One of Jones' greatest achievements was doing all three Brunnhilde roles in the summer of 1976 at the Bayreuth centennial RING Cycle under Pierre Boulez and Patrice Chereau. Jones entered a new phase of her career when at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, she gave her first performance of Turandot, a role she had learned from her former teacher Dame Eva Turner. This feat was regarded as one of the greatest triumphs of the later portion of Jones' career, during which she became known as the world's finest interpreter of this role. She also took on the roles of Minnie in LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST, the widow Begbick in MAHAGONNY, and the mother in HANSEL UND GRETEL. Jones continued the same energetic performance schedule she began early in her career well into her sixties; in 1999 she had 70 opera and concert performances planned. She was made a Dame of the British Empire, received the German Cross of Merit, and is a Kammersängerin of both the Vienna and Bavarian Operas."
- Meredith Gailey, allmusic.com
"Towering in physical stature, Finnish bass Matti Salminen offers a voice to match. From the beginning of a career that has made him one of the leading singers of Wagner's bass roles, there was no question about his voice placement. It was no bass baritone, but a true bass, huge, dark, focused, and possessed of a reassuring steadiness. By the time he had reached his mid-thirties, he had both mastered the tradition of great Wagner singing and discovered the means to pace himself in that most arduous of all repertoires. By the start of the 1990s, he had become the pre-eminent Hagen of his time, sardonic in mien and powerfully incisive of voice. He had distinguished himself in Mozart, as well, having no rival but Kurt Moll in the role of Osmin.
He began a lengthy association with Bayreuth in 1976, making his first appearance there as Hunding in the first year of Patrice ChÃ©reau's controversial RING. Salminen's Metropolitan Opera debut took place on January 9, 1981, when he sang King Marke. Subsequent roles there have included Osmin, Sarastro, Rocco, and his defining Hagen.
As he entered his fifties, Salminen's voice became somewhat less steady than in his younger years, but it remained an imposing, untiring instrument. At Chicago in the late winter of 2002, he undertook an exhausting schedule, alternating Gurnemanz with Sarastro on an almost nightly basis. To both roles, he brought great dignity and an even firmer adherence to legato singing than before. Well-documented on both audio and video recording, Salminen's signature roles offer a model to other aspiring basses. His Hagen ripened into a terrifying study of malignancy under James Levine in the Metropolitan Opera RING. His intense Osmin under Harnoncourt's leadership remains a superlative study, bracingly sung. His Landgraf, Daland, and Hunding likewise reside near the very apex of great vocal interpretation."
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com