Der Ring des Nibelungen discography

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The four operas of Richard Wagner's cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen together take about 15 hours, which makes for several records, tapes, or CDs, and much studio time. For this reason, many full Ring recordings are the result of "unofficial" recording of live performances, particularly from the Bayreuth Festival where new productions are often broadcast by German radio. Live recordings, especially those in monaural, may have very variable sound but often preserve the excitement of a performance better than a studio recording.



The following lists some well-known recordings of the complete Ring Cycle:

1949 Rudolf Moralt Vienna Symphony OrchestraMytoMonoStudio
(radio broadcast)
1950 Wilhelm Furtwängler Teatro alla Scala Orchestra Music & Arts, Opera D'Oro,
Gebhardt, Archipel
1953 Wilhelm Furtwängler Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro della RAI EMI Classics, GebhardtMonoStudio
(radio broadcast)
Clemens Krauss Bayreuth Festival OrchestraGala, Archipel,
Opera D'Oro, Orfeo
Joseph Keilberth Bayreuth Festival Orchestra Testament Stereo
(1955 only)
1956–1958 Hans Knappertsbusch Bayreuth Festival OrchestraMusic & Arts,
Melodram, Orfeo
1957 Rudolf Kempe Royal Opera House OrchestraTestamentMonoLive
1958–1965 Georg Solti Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Decca Records,
1961 Rudolf Kempe Bayreuth Festival OrchestraOrfeoMonoLive
1966–1970 Herbert von Karajan Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Deutsche Grammophon,
1966–1967 Karl Böhm Bayreuth Festival Orchestra Philips StereoLive
1968 Hans Swarowsky Großes SymphonieorchesterDenon EssentialsStereoStudio
Wolfgang Sawallisch Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro della RAIMytoStereoStudio
(radio broadcast)
1974–1978 Reginald Goodall English National Opera Orchestra EMI Classics,
(sung in English)
1979–1980 Pierre Boulez Bayreuth Festival Orchestra Philips,
Deutsche Grammophon,
1980–1983 Marek Janowski Staatskapelle Dresden OrchestraEurodisc, BMG StereoStudio
1987–1989 James Levine Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Deutsche Grammophon StereoStudio
1988–1991 Bernard Haitink Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra EMI Classics StereoStudio
1989 Wolfgang Sawallisch Bavarian State Opera Orchestra EMI Classics StereoLive
1991–1992 Daniel Barenboim Bayreuth Festival Orchestra Warner Classics StereoLive
1993–1995 Günter Neuhold Badische Staatskapelle Orchestra Brilliant Classics,
Bella Musica, Documents
1997-1999 Roberto Paternostro Staatstheater KasselArs ProduktionStereoLive
1998–2001 Gustav Kuhn Tyrol Festival Orchestra Arte Nova StereoLive
2005 Hartmut Haenchen Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra EtceteraMultichannel StereoLive
2006–2007Asher Fisch Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Melba RecordingsMultichannel StereoLive
2006–2007 Lothar Zagrosek Staatsorchester Stuttgart Naxos StereoLive
2008 Christian Thielemann Bayreuth Festival OrchestraBBC Opus ArteStereoLive
2011 Christian Thielemann Wiener StaatsoperDeutsche GrammpohonStereoLive
2008–2010 Simone Young Philharmoniker Hamburg Oehms ClassicsStereoLive
2010–2012Sebastian Weigle Frankfurt Opera Orchestra Oehms ClassicsStereoLive
2012–2013 Marek Janowski Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra PENTATONE
(PTC 5186581)
Multichannel StereoLive concert
2015-2018 Jaap van Zweden Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra NaxosStereoLive concert

The recording conducted by Georg Solti was the first stereo studio recording of the complete cycle. In a poll on the BBC Radio 3's long-running radio programme CD Review, this set was voted as the greatest recording of the 20th century. [1] Although Solti's was the first studio stereo recording, the cycle had previously been recorded live in stereo by Decca engineers at the Bayreuth Festival in 1955 under the baton of Joseph Keilberth. Although unavailable for over 50 years, this cycle was finally released in 2006 on CD and vinyl by Testament.

Gramophone , for example, lists the Solti recording as its recommendation on its website. [2] However, when their long-time Wagner critic Alan Blyth reviewed recordings of the Ring for the feature "Building a Library" on the BBC's CD Review (then Stereo Review) in 1986, he favoured the Böhm and Furtwängler/RAI recordings. When John Deathridge carried out a follow-up review for the programme in 1992, he favoured parts of the Goodall, Haitink and Boulez cycles for individual operas and Levine overall. [3]

The Ring Cycle is also available in a number of video or DVD presentations. These include:

The Boulez, Barenboim, Zagrosek, and Haenchen performances are also available as audio recordings.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Der Ring des Nibelungen, WWV 86, is a cycle of four German-language epic music dramas composed by Richard Wagner. The works are based loosely on characters from Germanic heroic legend, namely Norse legendary sagas and the Nibelungenlied. The composer termed the cycle a "Bühnenfestspiel", structured in three days preceded by a Vorabend. It is often referred to as the Ring cycle, Wagner's Ring, or simply The Ring.

Bayreuth Festival Annual music festival of Wagner operas

The Bayreuth Festival is a music festival held annually in Bayreuth, Germany, at which performances of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner are presented. Wagner himself conceived and promoted the idea of a special festival to showcase his own works, in particular his monumental cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and Parsifal.

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John Culshaw Classical record producer from England

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Hannelore Bode is a German operatic soprano. She performed at the Bayreuth Festival from 1968 to 1978, including Elsa in Lohengrin, Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and several parts in the 1976 Jahrhundertring, including Sieglinde in Die Walküre. She performed internationally and recorded operas with conductors such as Eugen Jochum, Silvio Varviso and Pierre Boulez.

Gerd Nienstedt was a German and Austrian opera singer, bass and bass-baritone. After an international career at major opera houses and the Bayreuth Festival, he was also a theatre director, stage director and academic voice teacher.

Ruth Siewert was a German contralto and voice teacher. She performed roles by Richard Wagner at major opera houses in Europe and at the Bayreuth Festival, and was known as a singer of oratorio and Lied.

<i>Der Ring in Minden</i>

Der Ring in Minden was a project to stage Richard Wagner's cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Stadttheater Minden, beginning in 2015 with Das Rheingold, followed by the other parts in the succeeding years, and culminating with the complete cycle performed twice in 2019. The stage director was Gerd Heinz, and Frank Beermann conducted the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, playing on the stage of the small theatre. The singers acted in front of the orchestra, making an intimate approach to the dramatic situations possible. The project received international recognition and was compared favourably to the Bayreuth Festival.

The following lists note recordings in opera and recital of soprano Jessye Norman.

<i>Der Ring des Nibelungen</i> (Georg Solti recording) 1959 Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra album

Between 1958 and 1965 the Decca record company made the first complete recording to be released of Richard Wagner's tetralogy, Der Ring des Nibelungen. Of the four component operas, there had been two previous studio recordings of Die Walküre, and a monaural radio recording of Götterdämmerung, which was released on record in 1956, but Decca's was the first Ring cycle planned and recorded for the gramophone.


  1. BBC Radio (2004). "The Greatest Recordings as Voted by CD Review Listeners". BBC. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  2. "Recommended Recordings". Gramophone . 2007. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
  3. BBC (2007). "CD Review's Building a Library". BBC. Retrieved 22 December 2007.