Hermann Baumann is easily one of the finest horn players of the second half of the 20th century. He came to prominence as a soloist in the 1960s and in 1964 won the prestigious ARD International Music Competition in Munich, beating out Jessye Norman for first place
Joan Sutherland first sang the role of Alcina in 1957 and continued to sing it until 1983. The role allows her to display her technical agility, the breath control on long phrases and her stunning trill. It must be admitted that her diction is not clean – but what glorious singing. Teresa Berganza as Ruggiero is Sutherland's equal throughout the entire opera. Her approach is less overtly spectacular but her "Verdi prati" is an object lesson in classic vocalism. With a glorious contralto voice, Monica Sinclair attacks the role of Bradamante with gusto. The three octave scale which concludes her Act 1 aria is not stylistic, but it is exciting. In the shorter roles Mirella Freni and Graziella Sciutti are excellent. Freni was at the beginning of long and glorious career. The male roles are of less importance in this opera but they are very well sung by Luigi Alva and Ezio Flagello.
Richard Wagner is best known for creating several complex operas, including Tristan and Isolde and Ring Cycle, as well as for his anti-semitic writings. 43 CD set on Membran International Documents: Der Fliegende Hollander (Krauss–1944); Tannhauser (Heger–1951); Lohengrin (Keilberth–1953); Das Rheingold (Neuhold–1993); Die Walküre (Neuhold–1994); Siegfried (Neuhold–1994); Götterdämmerung (Neuhold –1995); Rienzi (Zillig–1950); Parsifal (Knappertsbusch–1951); Die Feen (Ötvös–1998); Meistersinger (Karajan–1951); Das Liebesverbot (Heger–1963); Tristan & Isolde (Furtwängler–1952). Included is a 24 page booklet with cast lists, plot summaries, and background notes.