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Valery Gergiev conducts a swift reading in this performance – this Rhine is in full flood. The Mariinsky Orchestra plays well for him, but sometimes the brass is woozy, and occasionally positively burpy. René Pape’s Wotan is pretty magisterial. The advantage of having a bass sing the role is apparent, and luckily Pape also has a thrilling top, though he is slightly stretched in some of his final phrases. His performance has a slight tendency to rely on a stream of rich tone, sometimes to the detriment of dramatic insight. Ekaterina Gubanova is a solid Fricka, sounding younger and less hectoring than many, but also lacking some character, a fate that also befalls Nikolai Putilin’s Alberich. No such problem for Stephan Rügamer’s Loge, whose purity of voice provides an other-worldly quality. Andrei Popov almost crosses the line into caricature as Mime, Evgeny Nikitin and Mikhail Petrenko intimidate as the giants, and Zlata Bulycheva spreads gloom and doom effectively as Erda. The Rhinemaidens are forthright, almost cheerful; Ekaterina Sergeeva’s even mezzo is particularly attractive as Flosshilde.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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