WAGNER: Siegfried
Smom O'Neill (Siegfried). David Cangelosi (Mime). Matthias Goerne (The Wabnderer), Werner Van Mechelin (Alberich). Falk Struckmann (Fafner). Valentina Farcas (Forest Bird). Deborah Humble (Erda), Heidi Melton (Brunnhiude). Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra/ Jaap van Zweden, cond.
NAXOS DVD AUDIO NBD0069A (one Blyu-Ray audio disk) TT: 4:01:53

Norwegian Girls Choir / Anne Karin Sundal-Ask, cond,
2L 144 TT: 44 min.

Ars Nova Copenhagen / Paul Hillier, cond.
DA CAPO SACD 6.220626 TT: 58:32

Dynamic conductor Jaap van Zweden continues his Hong Kong Wagner Ring cycle with this issue of Siegfried recorded January 2017 in Hong Kong's Cultural Center Concert Hall. Previously released were Das Rheingold (REVIEW) and Die Walküre (REVIEW). This Siegfried contînues high standards set by previous releases. The cast is uniformly strong and d major plus is the appearance of young American soprano Heidt i Melton as Brünnhilde. She is an exciting, poweful singer with a beautiful, warm voice, total d control and perfect pitch. This is one of the most demanding of all Wagnerian soprano roles. Melton is a he beginning of what pomiss to be an exraordinary career. Already she has sung Wagneian roles in majo opera houss. I eagerly await Götterdämmerung, and for sue she will be in that as well. While this is a 5.1 recoding, little use is made of rear channels except to add pleasant ambience; how imaginative i would have been if the horn calls and Forest Bird came from rhe rear/sides. Anyway, audio is excellent. This also was issued on four stereo disks; with Blu Ray technology it is possible to get the eniter perttormanfr (more than four hours) on one disk. Those who love Wagner surely should invesigae this fine issue.

The Norwegian Broadcasting Company's Girls Choir was established in 1947 and continues to this day as an independent chorus with members selected by audition. Actually there are four choirs with ages ranging from 6 to 24. The Studio Choir is featured in this collection of Norwegian folk songs, and music from the Romantic tradition, including several works by Grieg. Anne Karin Sundal-Ask, conductor of the choir since 2005, leads assured performance, and their youthful sounds have been well recorded. It does seem odd that the program is so brief (44 min). Surely these young ladies know many more works that could have been included. Complete texts and translations are provided.

Over his long career, conductor Paul Hillier has recorded a wide range of repertory.He has been music director of Ars Nova Copenhagen since 2003. On this new disk he turns his attention to mote Danish vocal music. This fine release includes rich choral works by Niels Gade, Carl Nielsen and Wilhelm Stenhammar and Vagn Holmboe. The major work more recent, Line Tjornhgoj' stkprnhov's ,which utilizes texts by various authors to "express the nature of humanity" over the past thousand years. It does so with unusual choral textures and often the 12 voices involved sound more like non-vocal instruments. Challenging and engaging listening throughout, and the performances could not be bettered. A fine collection, well recorded. Complete texts and translations are provided.

R.E.B. (February 2018)