Not being a lifelong Wagner devotee, I'm not sure if this particular performance has been released before or not, but I do know that it was included in a 2013 9-title release of Wagner operas recorded live from The Met from 1937 through 1954.
Why this performance? 3 words: Flagstad, Melchior, Huehn. I would add to that Leinsdorf, especially since the recording quality is so bad; his faster-than-the-norm tempi help cut through the densely muddy sound quality.
This recording was made just about a year before Solti and producer John Culshaw started on their now-legendary "Ring" recording for Decca. On this album, which might easily be regarded as a testing ground for the later project, the formidable Kirsten Flagstad takes the role of Brunnhilde.
- By Michael K. Halloran -
This legendary Bayreuth Festival production of Wagner’s 'Der Ring des Nibelungen', directed by Harry Kupfer, with designs by Hans Schavernoch, and conducted by Daniel Barenboim, is considered perhaps the finest video recording of these four operas ever made. For their innovative modernist staging, Kupfer and his team turned away from the work’s time of origin and located The Ring at a “road of history”, a meeting-place of past, present and future, which sets the scene for the story’s struggles of power and love. Barenboim’s authoritative yet highly responsive reading of the immense score and the extraordinary performances of the cast help to make this a truly memorable Ring.
The second part of Patrice Chéreau's epoch-making Bayreuth "Ring" is a radical re-imaging of "Die Walküre", unprecedented in its psychological penetration. "This Wagnerian drama", says Chéreau, "which is at once classical theatre and domestic comedy, enables us to interpret the myths in terms that are both anecdotical and sublime … With Wagner one is dealing with a drama tuned virtually white-hot by the music." "Nothing ever seen before on television has given a better insight into Wagner's genius." (The New York Times)
This release marks the first appearance of Georg Solti on Testament as an opera conductor in an historic performance of Die Walküre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in October 1961. This is the first new production at the Royal Opera House conducted by Solti following his appointment as Musical Director of the Covent Garden Opera Company in 1961.