You are here

3 posts / 0 new
Last post
The Ultimate Bayreuth CD box set

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had exactly 0 Wagner CDs. With one purchase, I instantly had a full fledged foundation upon which to build in the future. 

Wagner The Great Operas From the Bayreuth Festival on the Decca label. I got it at Amoeba in Berkeley, and received 33 CDs for $125 + Gov Moonbeam's tax.

I got all 13 operas in live performances from the green hill. Here is the program:

  • Sawallish: Duchman, Lohengrin, Tannhauser
  • Bohm: Tristan, Ring
  • Varviso: Meistersinger
  • Levine: Parsifal

Happily, it has the legendary Bohm/Nilsson/1966 Tristan, the greatest opera recording of all time. It also has that god-awful Varviso fiasco: suggest you seek out Karajan for a reasonably definitive Meistersinger. 

What a great find and a great

What a great find and a great price for all of that music. It might be out there on E-Bay or Amazon. And it is truly a head scratcher that they chose the Varviso Meistersinger over so many other conductors with Bayreuth's well-documented broadcast history: Knappertsbusch,  Karajan, Bohm, Leinsdorf, Barenboim, Thielemann and many others.

Now for two SF factoid connections:

Local retired tenor and vocal coach Claude Heater was the Melot on the 1966 Bohm, Nilsson, Windgassen Tristan of 1966

Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown is not responsible for Sales Tax in California. No, not a planet nor one of it's moons - that honor goes to former San Francisco Mayor  James “Sunny Jim” Rolph, Jr. (August 23, 1869 – June 2, 1934) in 1933 at the rate of 2.5%. Not certain if his politics were of the "Ass"inine or Elephantine variety.

All the best



this set is much better than I realized at first...


I wish add a bit of color. I did not realize it at first, but this is actually a darn impressive compendium as these things go.



this is certainly one of the better Dutchmans, but far from definitive. Course, I am not 100% happy with any commercial recordings I have heard recently, and cannot name one that is even close to being 'definitive'.



Here you will find that remarkable performance of Grace Bumbry as Venus, certainly one of the truly great performances in all Wagnerdom. True, Windgassen and Silja acquit themselves quite well, but Bumbry is clearly the star.



Jess Thomas does the definitive title role. Full stop. As a bonus, it has one of my favorites in their roles: Vinay/Varnay as Telramund/Ortrud.



One of the greatest opera recordings of all time. Full stop (except for Ludwig/Brangäne).



Umm...let us move to the next item on the marquee.



Better than Solti, but certainly short of the also contemporary Karajan. (C'mon: hit me with your best shot).



Outside of the legendary 62 Furtwängler, one of my favorites. Simon Estes is Amfortas and Peter Hofmann is the title role.