Thursday, March 01, 2007

Justified? Probably not.

This review, just posted to ClassicsToday.com, mentions John Tomlinson's Hagen as a primary attractor to Haitink's Götterdämmerung. I wholeheartedly agree.

John Tomlinson's Hagen is a supremely nasty character--three-dimensional and utterly evil--and stunningly sung.

Frankly, that performance is the only good reason to buy the set. Tomlinson is, in my mind, the single greatest Wagnerian bass of modernity. In fact, you might say that the canon is Friedrich Schorr, Hans Hotter, and John Tomlinson. James Morris is boring, and that's generous. Theo Adam was, how does one say, off more than he was on; in fact, the 1967 Bayreuth Ring can count Adam as a serious liability.

Haitink's cycle is up against Levine and Barenboim. All things considered, Barenboim comes out first on all counts, Levine is a solid second, and Haitink straggles in at third. The final music-drama is worth the effort; otherwise, it is probably best to stick with Barenboim. Still, it's nice to see Tomlinson get the vast credit he deserves.