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 Orchestra||Myto||Mono||Studio|
|1950||Wilhelm Furtwängler||Teatro alla Scala Orchestra|| Music & Arts, Opera D'Oro,|
|1953||Wilhelm Furtwängler||Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro della RAI||EMI Classics, Gebhardt||Mono||Studio|
|Clemens Krauss||Bayreuth Festival Orchestra||Gala, Archipel,|
Opera D'Oro, Orfeo
|Joseph Keilberth||Bayreuth Festival Orchestra||Testament||Stereo|
|1956–1958||Hans Knappertsbusch||Bayreuth Festival Orchestra||Music & Arts,|
|1957||Rudolf Kempe||Royal Opera House Orchestra||Testament||Mono||Live|
|1958–1965||Georg Solti||Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra|| Decca Records,|
|1961||Rudolf Kempe||Bayreuth Festival Orchestra||Orfeo||Mono||Live|
|1966–1970||Herbert von Karajan||Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra|| Deutsche Grammophon,|
|1966–1967||Karl Böhm||Bayreuth Festival Orchestra||Philips||Stereo||Live|
|1968||Hans Swarowsky||Großes Symphonieorchester||Denon Essentials||Stereo||Studio|
|Wolfgang Sawallisch||Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro della RAI||Myto||Stereo||Studio|
|1974–1978||Reginald Goodall||English National Opera Orchestra|| EMI Classics,|
(sung in English)
|1979–1980||Pierre Boulez||Bayreuth Festival Orchestra|| Philips,|
|1980–1983||Marek Janowski||Staatskapelle Dresden Orchestra||Eurodisc, BMG||Stereo||Studio|
|1987–1989||James Levine||Metropolitan Opera Orchestra||Deutsche Grammophon||Stereo||Studio|
|1988–1991||Bernard Haitink||Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra||EMI Classics||Stereo||Studio|
|1989||Wolfgang Sawallisch||Bavarian State Opera Orchestra||EMI Classics||Stereo||Live|
|1991–1992||Daniel Barenboim||Bayreuth Festival Orchestra||Warner Classics||Stereo||Live|
|1993–1995||Günter Neuhold||Badische Staatskapelle Orchestra|| Brilliant Classics,|
Bella Musica, Documents
|1998–2001||Gustav Kuhn||Tyrol Festival Orchestra||Arte Nova||Stereo||Live|
|2006–2007||Asher Fisch||Adelaide Symphony Orchestra||Melba Recordings||Multichannel Stereo||Live|
|2005||Hartmut Haenchen||Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra||Etcetera||Multichannel Stereo||Live|
|2008||Christian Thielemann||Bayreuth Festival Orchestra||BBC Opus Arte||Stereo||Live|
|2008–2010||Simone Young||Philharmoniker Hamburg||Oehms Classics||Stereo||Live|
|2010–2012||Sebastian Weigle||Frankfurt Opera Orchestra||Oehms Classics||Stereo||Live|
|2012–2013||Marek Janowski||Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra|| PENTATONE |
|Multichannel Stereo||Live concert|
|2015-2018||Jaap van Zweden||Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra||Naxos||Stereo||Live 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.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.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.
Herbert von Karajan's recording has been for a long time controversial, because of its peculiar casting and conducting-style, which critics called "chamber-music conducting" because of its particular attention to musical beauty which allegedly hurts drama (listeners generally say it's just a subtler reading than Solti's, which means there's less epic but more psychological analysis).[ citation needed ]
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.
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.
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.
Dame Gwyneth Jones is a Welsh operatic dramatic soprano, widely regarded as one of the greatest Wagnerian sopranos in the second half of the 20th century.
Harry Alfred Robert Kupfer was a German opera director and academic. A long-time director at the Komische Oper Berlin, he worked at major opera houses and at festivals internationally. Trained by Walter Felsenstein, he worked in the tradition of realistic directing. At the Bayreuth Festival, he staged Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer in 1978 and Der Ring des Nibelungen in 1988. At the Salzburg Festival, he directed the premiere of Penderecki's Die schwarze Maske in 1986 and Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss in 2014.
John Royds Culshaw, OBE was a pioneering English classical record producer for Decca Records. He produced a wide range of music, but is best known for masterminding the first studio recording of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, begun in 1958.
Siegfried Jerusalem is a German operatic tenor. Closely identified with the heldentenor roles of Richard Wagner, he has performed Siegfried, Siegmund, Lohengrin, Parsifal, and Tristan to wide acclaim. Since the 1990s, he has focused on lieder, particularly those by Strauss, Mahler and Schumann.
René Pape is a German operatic bass.
Waltraud Meier is a Grammy Award–winning German dramatic soprano and mezzo-soprano singer. She is particularly known for her Wagnerian roles as Kundry, Isolde, Ortrud, Venus, Fricka, and Sieglinde, but has also had success in the French and Italian repertoire appearing as Eboli, Amneris, Carmen, and Santuzza. She resides in Munich.
This is an audio and video discography of Tristan und Isolde, an opera by Richard Wagner which was first performed on 10 June 1865 in Munich.
Eva Johansson is a Danish operatic soprano.
This is a partial discography of Parsifal, an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner.
Reiner Goldberg is a German operatic.
This is a partial discography of Das Rheingold, the first of the four operas that comprise Der Ring des Nibelungen, by Richard Wagner.
The Jahrhundertring was the production of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen, at the Bayreuth Festival in 1976, celebrating the centenary of both the festival and the first performance of the complete cycle. The festival was directed by Wolfgang Wagner and the production was created by the French team of conductor Pierre Boulez, stage director Patrice Chéreau, stage designer Richard Peduzzi, costume designer Jacques Schmidt and lighting designer André Diot. The cycle was shown first in 1976, then in the following years until 1980. It was filmed for television in 1979 and 1980. While the first performance caused "a near-riot" for its brash modernity, the staging established a standard, termed Regietheater, for later productions.
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.
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.
Uta Priew is a German operatic mezzo-soprano.