WAGNER: Götterdämmerung
Gun-Brit Barkmam (Brünnhilde). Daniel Brenna (siegfried). Shenyang (Gunther). Eric Halfvareson (Hagen). Amanda Majeski (Gutrune). Michele DeYoung (Waltraute). Peter Kalman (Alberich). Eri Nakamura (Woglinde). Aurhella Varak (Wellgunde). Hermine Hasselbock (Flosshilde). Bamberg Symphony Chorus. Hong Kong Philharmonic Chorus. Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra / Jap van Zweden, cond.
NAXOS BLU RAY AUDIO NBD0075 TT: 4:23:22
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ANGEL HEART
Jeremy Irons, narrator. Matt Haimovitz, cellist. Lisa Delan, soprano. Frederica Von Stade / Zheng Cao (mezzo-sopranos). Daniel Taylor (countertenor). Sanford Sylvan (baritone). Mike Marshall / Caterina Lichtenberg (mandolins). Children's Choir of St. Martin de Porres School.Cello Ensemble / Michael Morgan, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186731SACD TT: 67:01
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The dynamic Jap van Zweden concludes his Ring Cycle with this outstanding performance of Götterdämmerung recorded live January 18 and 21, 2018 in the Hong Kong Cultural Center Concert Hall. Like previous issues: Das Rheingold,Die Walküre and Siegfried, the cast is sttong throughout and the Japanese orchestra plays with security and tonal beauty. Those large outbursts of Wagnerian sonority come over with thrilling effect. Of [particular interest are two singers. The young American tenor Daniel Brenna has sung the demanding role of Siegfried to high praise with the Washington Opera and the Vienna State Opera, also appearing in in operas of Berg, Janacek and Richard Strauss. German soprano Gun-Brit Backmin in recent years has amazed audiences with her performances as Sieglinde Isolde Elsa, Chrysothemis and many other roles including contemporaryopera. She was a particular hit in a concert performance of Salome with the Boston Symphony, part of which can be seen on YouTube. An attractive woman, she has a remarkable stage presence. This Hong Kong Brünnhilde was her first performance of the role; her clear powerful voice seems ideal. This van Zweden Ring should be in every Wagner collection.

Producers describe this as, "hanging, gentle spirits from far-fflung worlds meet in the pulsing sphere of dreams and lullabies....a musical storybook for children." It is based on an original tale by best-selling children's fantasy writer Cornelia Funke The original score is by Luna Pearl Woolf, interspersed with songs by Irving Berlin, Lennon-McCarthy, Jake Hegge, Eugene Humperdinck and Gordon Getty. The handsome package includes appropriate images by the award-winning creative studio Mirada that tell the story. Also included are a coloring poster, stickers and cards for"sharing the magic".Performers are excellent, and the multi-channel audio is clear. Complete texts are provided. Chidden obviously will enjoy this.

R.E.B. (February 2019)