" This magnificent set of CDs - previously available as four separate releases - is a record in the original and most valuable sense of the term: live performances from the London Coliseum, home of the English National Opera, made during that company's first great golden period and capturing for posterity one of their finest achievements: Wagner's huge Ring cycle of music-dramas, performed not by jet-setting international star names but by an ensemble company of (mostly) home-grown singers and orchestral players, the whole thing painstakingly, lovingly and thrillingly moulded by a shy little man whom next to nobody had heard of until the company brought him into the limelight.
Above everything else this is conductor Reginald Goodall's Ring; his knowledge and love of the music pervade every second. And then it's the singers' Ring: Rita Hunter, Alberto Remedios, Norman Bailey and so many others, performing with a lyrical and dramatic intensity which they rarely equalled elsewhere. And though I come to him last, perhaps it should have been first: this is writer Andrew Porter's Ring: few who were there as it was unveiled stage-by-stage will forget how his newly-commissioned English translation brought the conflict to such vivid life.
Of course, there are minor quibbles: some tempi are too slow and the pace falters; those who dislike such things should know that there are various stage (and occasionally off-stage) noises, thumps and bumps. An audience member who should have been taken out and shot blows his or her nose during one of the very quietest orchestral passages. But if you're in tune with the atmosphere, the excitement, the sheer sense of a great project triumphantly brought off - then it doesn't matter. None of it matters. This set is vibrant and alive from beginning to end; you can practically smell it.
In sum: a splendid, vivid, invaluable experience of a revelatory production that has never been equalled. I thought I knew The Ring - and then I heard these performances. If you were there, you'll want these CDs. If you weren't there, buy them anyway, listen and marvel - and then wish devoutly that you had been. "
Box set containing 16 CD's in four separate boxes.Only one box as been opened and the condition is mint.The other three are still sealed in as new condition.Each opera as a booklet containing full details in English.There is a scuff mark to the top of the outer box.