In search for the one recording of 'Der Ring des Nibelungen' that would rule them all ...
Rudolf Moralt - Studio 1949 Singers are recorded very close to the mic. Like they are standing in your living room.
Clemens Krauss - Bayreuth 1953 The best conducted Ring. It breaths, the most important thing in music. Whether you listening to a Bruckner symphony or a Slayer song.
The Keilberth-Bayreuth Legacy Bayreuth 1952: Very fast tempi that by times (Walkürenritt!) reveals almost cartoon-like qualities in the score.
Bayreuth 1953: Martha Mödl is Brünnhilde instead of Astrid Varnay (compared to '52 and '55)
Bayreuth 1955: First stereo Ring. Hans Hotter in his prime. A dramatic force of nature. Incomparable with the Solti Ring where he sounds very asthmetic in comparison.
Wilhelm Furtwängler - La Scala 1950 Donner und Wetter! Kirsten Flagstad is Brünnhilde in this live Ring from Italy.
Georg Solti - Studio 1958-1965 The Golden Ring according to many but It was never my favorite. Conducting is too nervous and Solti, unintendedly, shows that true drama never can exist without beauty.
Karl Böhm - Bayreuth 1966 The most dramatic Ring.
Herbert von Karajan - Studio 1966-1970 Karajan's quest for beauty.
Pierre Boulez / Patrice Chereau - Bayreuth 1980 Best staging available on DVD. The first act of Walküre is the best thing in opera on film that I’ve ever seen. Singing, however, is sometimes dangerously uneven (Wotan and Brünnhilde!).
Günther Neuhold - Live 1995 A Ring with a smaller orchestra than Wagner prescripted. A chamber music Ring.
Marek Janowksi - Studio 1982 I haven’t heard Janowksi's new recording of the Ring yet but this one is my favorite studio Ring.
Bernard Haitink - Studio 1990 Beautiful with one big BUT. Eva Marton destroys the part of Brünnhilde.
Daniel Barenboim / Harry Kupfer - Bayreuth 1992 (CD and DVD) As often I’m having problems with Barenboim’s choice of tempi. But I like the dark stage that gets to you while the drama unfolds. Singers are running around like crazy.
Michael Schonwandt / Kasper Bech Holten - Live 2007 (DVD) Modern staging with the most creepy and menacing Hagen ever who is also the worst singing Hagen ever.
Christian Thielemann - Bayreuth 2008 Teutonic forces are assembling in this Ring that sounds very impressive. But I don’t like my Wagner slow so by the time I get to Siegfried and Götterdämmerung it becomes a drag.
Hartmut Haenchen - De Nederlandse Opera 2008 (CDs plus live attendance) Swift tempi and music full of color presented in high transparency. An almost chamber music approach. Perhaps this is as close as you can get to a historic informed performance.
JAAP VAN ZWEDEN - Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (Live without a cough 2015-2018) Van Zweden doesn’t ride the fast lane but in a good Ring it isn't of any importance how long it takes to make it to the end of Götterdämmerung. In a good performance that end will always come too soon. And a good performance this is.