Moving on to the cycle's third segment, the Proms' traversal of Wagner's Ring continued to maintain exceptional standards. With the Staatskapelle Berlin and Daniel Barenboim at the centre of attention on stage, the focus may have been orchestral – not least because of the extraordinarily consistent standard of playing maintained over five hours – but the conductor's ability to balance Wagner's weighty forces kept textures light and open enough to let the voices cut through.

The cast was remarkable for its cohesion and its trenchant exposition of text, aided by Justin Way's simple but effective semi-staging; straightforward logistical strategies such as placing Eric Halfvarson's formidable Fafner by the organ seat and having Rinnat Moriah's lucid Woodbird descend from the top rung of the choir worked well.

The title role remains as difficult to cast convincingly as any in the repertory. Here it was in the hands of Canadian tenor Lance Ryan, his stamina holding up impressively over the assault course of demands that Wagner's heroic writing puts it through; but Siegfried really needs more sheen, lyricism and steadiness. Even so, Ryan paced himself well enough to be able to duet honourably with Nina Stemme's Brünnhilde in the final scene, her radiant tone and glorious top register the stuff of Wagnerian vocal legend.

Outstanding, too, was the resigned Wanderer of Terje Stensvold, who combined authoritative presence with vocalism of tonal richness and keen dramatic understanding. In his sequence of extended dialogue scenes, he interrogated Peter Bronder's tetchy Mime, Johannes Martin Kränzle's grandly aggrieved Alberich, and Anna Larsson's sumptuously hieratic Erda, each of them making a memorable contribution to a performance whose momentum never faltered.

Available to listen again until 3 August.


George Hall

The GuardianTramp

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