I found myself laughing, and trying not to disturb those in the neighbouring seats, at several points. I liked the way old Hagen hung his coat on the hilt of Wotan's sword - 'Oh yeah, that sword, no one can pull it out so I just hang me coat on it' - while Siegmund didn't spot it until Frau Hagen gave him the nod.
Originally Posted by aeolium
I couldn't quite get the image of the stage machinery as piano keys out of my mind. The Valkyries riding the piano keys got a round from the audience, usual Met style, and I thought it an inspired use of them. At the end of Act III I assume it wasn't Deborah Voigt hanging upside down at the top of the rock, but a double who didn't mind the blood rushing to her head. But let's see what happens in Siegfried..... In the closing bars I thought the set with her at the centre looked like some huge bird (or perhaps a stealth aircraft) - another pre-echo of the bird (is it a raven?) with which Hagen distracts Siegfried in Act III of Goetterdaemmerung?
There were very human touches to the direction of the Gods - Fricka sobbing, for example, and Wotan's farewell to Bruennhilde was moving.
I think this is a fantastic new medium for opera which allows us a quite different experience of a great show such as the Met can provide.
Perhaps they should've arranged the Valkyries in twos and threes... after all, those big ivories on stage seemed to be missing their black key partners.
Also, it looked like a lot of fun for the ladies to slide down the ramps as they were dismounting.
Oh, and I had a great amount of fun watching them have Lunch in HD in Act I. I wonder if there was a bucket of KFC hidden just under the stage because Sieglinde instantly produced a platter of delicious-looking fried chicken, which, to my surprise, the boys actually ate! Or at least nibbled at. Since Hunding has less singing to do at that point, I have a feeling while Siegmund was going on and on, he probably polished off a drumstick or two.
And meanwhile Sieglinde kept filling some sort of magic wunderhorn full of water, which kept taking more and more fillings, and never spilt. Stage magic!
Perhaps Sieglinde had planned serving Haagen-Dazs for afters.
Originally Posted by prokkyshosty
This was a distinguished performance with outstanding contributions from Kaufmann and Westbroek. Indeed, Kaufmann delivered some of the finest Wagner singing and acting I have experienced. One really felt the threat, peril, agony and ecstasy of these ill-fated twins – I was swept away. Terfel has the great virtue of singing the role, and did so with accuracy and authority. But he still has not yet plumbed its depths, primarily portraying Wotan as a god rather than the `everyman’ that lies at the character’s core. However everything is in place for him to eventually become a great Wotan. Voigt let down the side. Her single facial expression comprises an unfortunate rictus. The voice has an unpleasant twang, regrettably I could not get the thought of Lillian Bellamy in the Archer’s out of my mind.
Levine’s conducting is pretty four-square. He does not do the continuous transition that marks great conducting of Wagner, rather one hears the gears changing. The orchestra played beautifully, especially the woodwind section. I thought the balance in the cinema relay better than on the radio.
The production, for all its high-tech stagecraft, is rather traditional and is told straightforwardly and with clarity. There is no over-arching theme informing the action, or being grafted on. In that sense the production is driven by what the protean set is able to do. There is nothing here to scare the conservative Met audience. The eventual DVD will make a good introduction to the work. With Eric Owens’ Alberich, this is shaping up into an impressive achievement. If anyone is thinking of going next year, Kaufmann appears in cycles 2 and 3.
MartinLePecheur may have mentioned above or elsewhere on the boards that Walkuere is being performed at the St Endellion Festival in Cornwall in August: once at the Hall for Cornwall, Truro, and twice in the Church of St E. I wonder if that's a first for an opera about incest being performed in a Christian church? Hmm.
Yes, I'm going to the Truro performance. The church performances sound intriguing - I bumped into someone who's involved in the performances in our local Waitrose yesterday: they're unsure just how they're going to fit everyone in!