he Guardian has announced the death of Wagnerian soprano Astrid Varnay: together with Flagstad she was the greatest Brunnhilde of her time. I have the complete 1953 Bayreuth Ring conducted by Clemens Krauss with her glorious Brunnhilde. Even better is a broadcast performance of Richard Strauss's Elektra, with Varnay as a vengeful Elektra and the splendid Res Fischer as her mother, Clytemnestra, who has murdered her husband, Elektra's father. (Res Fischer is too little known - she is by far the best Witch I have ever heard in Hansel and Gretel). Their confrontation is hair-raising - I have never heard an operatic performance drip venom in the way this does.
(Availability of this recording seems dubious - the Koch-Swann version I have is apparently no longer available: Amazon may be able to supply this version)
Astrid Varnay: born 25 April 1918; died 4 September 2006
Posted: Wed - September 6, 2006 at 11:49 AM by Roger Wilmut
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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM