The Golden Ring - Solti

The Golden Ring - Solti

Universal  4853364

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Opera

Highlights from Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen

Wiener Philharmoniker
Sir Georg Solti (conductor)

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of Sir Georg Solti’s death (5 September), Decca Classics is proud to announce a new high-definition transfer of the original master tapes of his most celebrated recording: the first stereo studio production of Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle, twice voted “The greatest recording of all time”.
Recorded in Vienna between 1958 and 1965, and masterminded by Decca’s pioneering producer John Culshaw, this recording has always been regarded as the perfect marriage of art and technology and boasted a cast including Birgit Nilsson, Hans Hotter and Kirsten Flagstad. These new transfers of the 38 original stereo master tapes have been made at 24 bit/192kHz resolution, allowing greater detail and dynamic range than ever before.

The transfers have allowed the original recording to be remastered for Dolby Atmos; the spatial audio technology which recreates a multi-dimensional experience true to Culshaw’s vision of a “theatre of the mind”.
Dominic Fyfe, Decca Classics Label Director and Audio Producer of this reissue, says: “Back in 1966 producer John Culshaw expressed the hope that this Ring would set a benchmark for years to come. Half a century later it is still the artistic and technical gold standard. Culshaw was above all an iconoclast and a visionary who rejoiced in new technology. I have no doubt he would approve of our efforts to utilise Dolby Atmos and the latest suite of remastering tools to make this new HD transfer the most immersive and vivid yet.”

The remastered Ring will be available in the most extensive suite ever of deluxe physical and digital products including:
• The first vinyl releases of the recording in 30 years. Half-speed mastered at Abbey Road Studios and pressed on 180g audiophile vinyl.
• The first international release of the recording on Hybrid SACDs, allowing listeners to hear the enhanced resolution of these new transfers and playable on all CD players
• The first and only complete Wagner Ring cycle available in Dolby Atmos
The physical products will be accompanied by lavish booklets including facsimiles of the original conductor and producer scores, rare session photographs, newly discovered curios and full libretti.
The four operas of the Ring cycle will be released in instalments between November 2022 and May 2023, with The Golden Ring, a selection of the greatest scenes from the cycle, released on 30 September 2022.

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Comments (7)

Comment by SACD-MAN (threerandot) - September 11, 2022 (1 of 7)

I am trying to figure out if buying this cycle again is going to be worth it? With this new remastering, will there really be a difference compared to the previous releases? Any thoughts on this new version of the cycle being released?

Comment by Joseph Ponessa - September 12, 2022 (2 of 7)

SACD-MAN (threerandot) -- In answer to your question, yes, it should be worth it. I had the LP box in ancient times, skipped the CD era, went straight to the Esoteric SACD box, then the Blu-ray box, then the Stereo Sound SACD set, and yes, there is room for improvement over all of those. The Stereo Sound SACD set is best at the moment, but it was made from a second-generation master for safekeeping in Japan. The Esoteric and the Blu-ray are made from lesser bitrate transfers of the first-generation master, which was then deemed unusable in the future. But technology has apparently found a way to tease the music out of those tapes.
If it were an ordinary recording, even only a great one, squeezing the last bit of music out of it would seem like gilding the lily. But this is probably the greatest recording of all time, of any work in any genre. So yes, it should be worth it!
Try getting the Rheingold. Compare it to what you have already. Then proceed on that basis. That is what I am planning to do, myself.

Comment by SACD-MAN (threerandot) - September 16, 2022 (3 of 7)

Thanks. Looking forward to this series on SACD. May try to get the Blu-ray if it is not too expensive!

Comment by Joseph Ponessa - September 16, 2022 (4 of 7)

This SACD of highlights is coming out later this month, and Rheingold next month. So you could sample the highlights and make that a point of comparison with whatever you have already. I suspect that the Blu-ray will come out last, so that it will not undermine the SACD sales.
All this publicity about the Solti set has overshadowed the Blu-ray release last week of Boulez's Unitel Ring, which I already had on laserdisc and DVD. DVD used the same laserdisc video master, which had turned greenish in the meantime. The Blu-ray goes back to the original film master, and is an awesome improvement in both sound and picture.
Two great Ring re-releases coming at us at once! And not just any re-releases, but the best audio Ring (Solti) and the best video Ring (Boulez).

Comment by Sintolt the Hegeling - September 17, 2022 (5 of 7)

Mr. Ponessa, again I have to ask you for ypur advice. I have heard (from a generally unreliable source) that the new Blu-Ray encodes only a marginally improved audio track, even though the video information is greatly improved over the DVDs. But for me, the video content of the Boulez Ring is completely irrelevant. I have never cared for Chereau's staging of the Ring, so I never actually watch the DVDs, but only listen to their audio track. So, if the new Blu-Ray issue presents a palpable improvement in audio quality over the DVDs, I'm om board. Otherwise, no. What is your best advice for me?

Comment by Joseph Ponessa - September 23, 2022 (6 of 7)

Sintolt the Hegeling -- It has been a couple of weeks now since I did my own comparison, but I remember feeling that the video and audio improvement were about equal. I was quite impressed by the handling of the fog, but I was surprised by a like improvement of the audio. Das Rheingold begins with soft notes from the bass section. They were a bit harsh on the DVD; the Blu-ray sound is just as deep, but more pleasing to the ear. The word "marginal improvement" does not express what I experienced; "grateful relief" would be more like it. It was similar to what I experienced going from the Esoteric SACD of Solti to the Stereo Sound SACD of same.

Comment by Sintolt the Hegeling - September 24, 2022 (7 of 7)

Thank you, Mr. Ponessa. Your report settles the issue for me. I'm buying the new Blu-Ray of the Boulez Ring.