I want to listen to Richard Wagner's Ring cycle. Where should I begin?
I want to purchase a recording of Wagner's Ring Cycle, but I don't know which one would best suit me.
I sometimes listen to classical music, but I listen to opera less often. I have enough of an ear for classical music so that, given two recordings of the same piece by two different conductors, I have a preference for one conductor's style over another, for reasons that I can generally articulate. I don't
feel that I have enough of an ear for opera to reliably discern between a truly excellent singer and one that's just really good.
Given this, which recording of the Ring cycle do you think would be the best for a newcomer?
The advice given by Wagner junkies on various websites (Amazon reader reviews, etc.) seems to favor purchasing two or three recordings in order to be completely happy, but I don't want to do that. What I'd like to do right now is purchase one recording and listen to it two or three times over a long period of months or years, and then pick up another recording later on if I feel like it. I would prefer a recording that's concerned with conveying a sense of narrative over the entire course of the work over one that lavishes specific attention on the bits that show up in film scores, if that makes sense.
I suppose I have a choice between the Solti
recording and the Karajan
recording--are there any others that I should consider? Bonus question: is there anything I should know before I dive into what appears to be a difficult piece of music (other than not to try to listen to it all in one sitting)?