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The Deutsche Oper Berlin orchestra wasn't as flexible, balanced, or strong as was the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in its own ``Ring'' cycle earlier this spring. The Berliners were good but often didn't rise to the high points and sometimes sounded tired. Jes'us L'opez-Cobos, the company's music director, conducted the first ``Ring,'' and Christof Perick conducted the second.

Great Wagnerian voices are nearly as scarce as heroes like Siegfried. This production was blessed with Gunter von Kannen, who sang Alberich, and Matti Salminen, who sang Hagen in both cycles and, in the second cycle, also sang one of the giants in ``Das Rheingold'' and Sieglinde's husband in ``Die Walk"ure.''

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Ren'e Kollo, probably the world's best Siegfried, sang with beauty and without strain. Simon Estes showcased his rich voice as Wotan in the second cycle.

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