This previously unpublished BBC recording, documenting Georg Solti’s first new production as Royal Opera music director, shows how he seized the company by the throat, investing the music with the intensity and drive that became his hallmark in Wagner (and much else).

His cast included Jon Vickers’ swashbuckling Siegmund, Claire Watson’s radiant Sieglinde, Rita Gorr’s imperious Fricka and Finnish soprano Anita Välkki’s truly thrilling Brünnhilde. Only Hans Hotter’s classic Wotan followed Solti to Vienna for his studio Ring. Despite less exalted sound, this live performance creates an extra frisson.

Richard Wagner

Die Walküre

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, October 1961/Georg Solti

(Testament) 4 CDs

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