Sunday, September 23, 2012

Opera Watch: Siegfried from the Met (2011)

Again, I know absolutely nothing about opera, Germans, Norse/ Germanic mythology, etc...

But we did make it through four hours of Siegfried, the third in the four opera cycle by our good friend Wagner.

And, boy howdy, does a lot happen in this thing.

Siegfried is the child of the lovers/ twin siblings (I KNOW) from Die Walk├╝re, the preceding episode.   He has grown to manhood under the watchful eye of Mime, the brother of the Nibelung, Alberich, from Das Rheingold. Our hero is both preternaturally brave and oddly unworldly, having had grown up in the woods among bears and wolves.

Singing AND Dragon Slaying!

I'll leave it to you to Google the plot, but in this installment the use of the rotating arms of the set and integrated visuals reached a new level of sophistication, with interactive digital leaves, a singing, 3D bird and imaginative use of the shifting set.

This opera also features soprano Deborah Voigt returning as Brunnhilde, and Texan Jay Hunter Morris as our titular hero. Morris plays Siegfried almost playfully. I'm not really sure what the character is supposed to be like, but he's a bit rascally here, right up to the point of confronting Fafner, the giant who has transformed into a dragon through the power of the helmet and ring from Das Rheingold.

the less we talk about how these two know each other as they fall in love, the happier we'll all be

Following his confrontation with Fafner, it's a rapid path of growth for our guy, and the truths of his life are revealed to him by accident and magic dragon blood.  Like you do.

Bryn Terfel continues on as The Wanderer/ Wotan, and in the long path of the fall of the gods, this is the second act before the inevitable occurs. Terfel started strong in Das Rheingold, but by this opera (and 10-11 hours of Wotan), you have to appreciate how Terfel handles the complexities of what Wotan is going through. Especially in a heartbreaking scene with Erda - who birthed Brunnhilde.

The Wanderer and Alberich have a "walk and talk"
Man, the ending of this thing.  It's all about joy in fatalism, which...  GERMANY, everybody.  But it is a bold statement, and even as we know things are going to end poorly for literally every character in these operas, I still like Brunnhilde's embracing of mortality and her attitude about where this is all headed (helped in no small part by Voigt's interpretation).

Again:  this is my first opera, so...  real opera fans will, of course, have differing opinions, I'm sure.  But THIS is how you do family drama, people.

One more opera.  Only four more hours.  WHOOO!!!!

1 comment:

horus kemwer said...

I'm reading these.

Sounded lonely, so . . . FYI.