Wagner is currently being studied by the second year undergraduates, looking at his magnum opus “Der Ring des Nibelungen”, which marks the beginning and the end of the world.
In the Pendlebury library, we have two 2 DVD sets and four CD sets available for loan, with each part available to borrow separately.
The first DVD set is the The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus production, conducted by James Levine [DVD.C.76-79]. One hundred years after the Metropolitan Opera introduced “Der Ring des Nibelungen” to American audiences, James Levine stepped onto the podium to conduct the Met’s fifth staging of Wagner’s epic, the first American-born conductor to undertake the whole cycle in the company’s history.
The second is the Weimar National Theatre production of “Ring Cycle”, recorded live in 2006-2008 with Wagner’s original ur-scene. [DVD.C.239-242]. This Weimar production changes the Ring from a mythological drama as conceived by Wagner into a family saga. Staging is minimal and claims to include all the props mentioned in Wagner’s score and usually omitted (such as Fricka’s rams cart, Grane represented by a women dressed in black).
There are many recordings of The Ring and the Pendlebury Library has four CD sets currently in stock – 2 of which were received recently as donations – see blogpost on the Phillip Greenwood collection).
Decca analogue recordings of The Ring, with the Wiener Staatsopernchor and Philmarmoniker, conducted by Georg Solti were recorded over an 8-year span Rheingold (1958), Siegfried (1962), Gotterdämmerung (1964) and Walküre (1966). These have been digitally re-mastered, but with a number of studio noises included by the original engineers – squeaking chairs, exhorting conductor, perhaps even the famous studio cat – as friendly ghosts from a glorious past. A fascinating article by John Culshaw in Gramophone 1996 on recording The Ring, sheds further light on this. The Pendlebury now has two sets of these recordings issued in 1997 – the second recently repackaged and added to stock as part of the Greenwood Collection.[CD.C.851 – 854]
Chandos “Opera in English” series published in 2001 what has become known as “The Goodall Ring”. These performances sung in English were recorded in performance at the London Coliseum in 1975, with the English National Opera Orchestra conducted by Reginald Goodall. [CD.C.794-797]
Our final set of recordings is part of “The Originals” series of legendary recordings from Deutsche Grammophon. Herbert von Karajan conducts the ‘Berliner Philharmoniker, recorded in Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin.[CD.C.761a-d]
So, whether you’re a Part 1B student, or just fancy a spot of Wagner, come in to the Pendlebury and borrow one of these.