Wagner: Die Walküre

Reviewed on Thu 01 Dec, 2016

Stuart Skelton’s formidable Siegmund, Heidi Melton’s committed Sieglinde and Petra Lang’s muscular, scene-stealing Brünnhilde deliver premium-quality singing.

Jaap van Zweden’s second instalment in his Naxos Ring Cycle with the Hong Kong Philharmonic continues, as Evan Dickerson said of its predecessor, Das Rheingold (21 January 2016), to “punch well above its weight and price bracket”. Recorded in concert, it adroitly ratchets up the tension as the Valkyries join the fray between battling mortals and gods. Underpinned by the taut, emotion-filled, drama-accented playing of the Hong Kong Philharmonic – lent added impact by van Zweden’s well-proportioned conducting – Stuart Skelton’s formidable Siegmund, Heidi Melton’s committed Sieglinde and Petra Lang’s muscular, scene-stealing Brünnhilde deliver premium-quality singing. Characterful performances throughout that capture the intimacy of their tortured relationships while nimbly accommodating the grand, inexorable arc of the cycle. If Matthias Goerne’s Wotan lacks sufficient focus, Michelle DeYoung’s Fricka is a forthright and bold conception. Producer and engineer Phil Rowlands’s sound is judiciously theatrical. More than whets the appetite for the next chapter in the epic tale, Siegfried.
–Michael Quinn