WAGNER: Das Rheingold
Ferdinand Frantz (Wotan). Angel Mattiello (Donner). Günther Treptow (Froh). Joachim Sattler (Loge). Alois Pernerstorter (Alberich). Peter Markwort (Mime). Ludwig Weber (Fasolt). Albert Emmerich (Fafner). Elisabeth Höngen (Fricka). Walburga Wegner (Freia). Margret Weth-Falke (Erda). Magda Gabory (Woglinde). Margherita Kenney (Wellgunde). Sieglinde Wagner (Floshilde). Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala/Wilhelm Furtwängler, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO089 (2 disks) TT: 2:30:07
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WAGNER: Die Walküre
Günther Treptow (Siegmund). Hilde Konetzni (Sieglinde). Ferdinand Frantz (Wotan). Kirsten Flagstad (Brünnhilde). Ludwig Weber (Hunding). Elisabeth Höngen (Fricka). Walburga Wegner,Marie Cerhat, Dagmar Schmedes, Polly Batic, Iola Steingruber, Margherita Kenney, Sieglinde Wagner, Margret Weth-falke (Valkyries). Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala/Wilhelm Furtwängler, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO CD PACO 091 (three disks) TT: 3 hr. 32:13
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WAGNER: Siegfried
Set Svanholm (Siegfried). Peter Markwort (Mime). Kirsten Flagstad (Brünnhilde). Josef Herrmann (Wanderer). Alois Pernerstorter (Alberich). Ludwig Weber (Fafner). Elisabeth Höngen (Erda). Julia Moor (Waldvogel). Chorus and Orchesstra of La Scala/Wilhelm Furtwängler, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 092 (3 disks) TT: 3 hr. 45:11
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WAGNER: Götterdämmerung
Kirsten Flagstad (Brünnhilde). Max Lorenz (Siegfried). Ludwig Weber (Hagan). Alois Pernerstorter (Alberich). Josef Herrmann (Gunther). Hilde Konetzni (Gutrune). Elisabeth Höngen (Waltraute). Magda Gabory (Woglinde). Sieglinde Wagner (Floshilde). Margret Weth-Falke/Margherita Kenney/Hilde Konetzni (Norns). Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala/Wilherlm Furtwängler, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 093 (4 disks) TT: 4 hr. 8:09
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Pristine Audio is to be commended for their stunning remastering of Wilhelm Furtwängler's two Ring cycles from 1950 (La Scala) and 1953 (Italian Radio), the famed conductor's only complete recordings. They issued the 1953 performance some months ago and all of these were praised on this site at the time. Now we have the 1950 cycle, which is of equal interest. . No question that both are powerful presentations of Wagner's vision. Furtwängle's conducting is both grand and sensitive.. Many leading roles feature the same singers—check the Pristine Classical SITE for details. The important fact is that many major Wagner singers of the time are featured: heldentenors Max Lorenz, Set Svanholm and Günther Treptow, bass-baritone Ferdinand Frantz, soprano Elisabeth Höngen,and bass Ludwig Weber. Particularly important is Kirsten Flagstad as Brünnhilde in the 1950 performance. Although the incredible Norwegian soprano had been singing Wagner for two decades, she still was at the height of her powers in both performances. Her scenes with Wotan in Walküre could not be bettered—what a pleasure it is to hear this music sung so effortlessly and with such tonal beauty! It was in 1953 that EMI recorded Tristan and Isolde with Furtwängler and Flagstad, a definitive passionate interpretation that also has been restored by Pristine (REVIEW). Both of these historic Ring performances have been issued previously in quite dreadful sound. Andrew Rose's XR remastering is miraculous. Of course these are mono recordings, but now the problems of pitch have been corrected, balances adjusted, overall sound enriched. Singers are always clear: one wonders what kind of mike setup RAI engineers used at the time—but it worked quite well. Those who love Wagner surely will wish to own at least one of these historic performances.

R.E.B. (June 2013)