Mark Elder, cond; Gerhard Siegel (Mime); Simon O’Neill (Siegfried); Iain Paterson (Wanderer); Martin Winkler (Alberich); Clive Bayley (Fafner); Malin Christensson (Woodbird); Anna Larsson (Erda); Rachel Nicholls (Brünnhilde); Hallé Orchestra
HALLÉ 7551 (4 CDs: 261:47) Live: Manchester 6/2–3/2018
Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra here conclude an impressive and unlikely Ring cycle. When the project began, with a similar concert performance of Götterdämmerung in 2009, Elder played down the idea of a complete cycle. Back then, the focus of his press interviews was the sheer magnitude of the task of just one installment, the logistics, the expense, and, most significantly of all, the musical demands made on the orchestra. But success led to success, and 10 years down the line, we now have a complete Ring. Bar Rheingold, each opera was presented over multiple nights, with this Siegfried presented over a weekend in June 2018, acts I and II on the Saturday, act III on the Sunday. The benefit for the CD listener is fresh voices and a fresh-sounding orchestra for the final act, and standards are certainly maintained across this four-CD set, the close as thrilling and atmospheric as the start.