The first act of Wagner’s Walkure is, in my opinion, the best of his operas; the best scene; the best music; the best emotion; the best of the best. Second best is the second act. This is gut wrenching emotion and gut wrenching music. Even in a local movie house in Coquitlam, BC.
I loved the scenery: particularly that silly moving plank thing, the malfunction of which delayed start of the opera this morning, and which has reportedly torn dresses and sent divas to their bums.
I love the intimacy of this and the previous production, Das Rheingold. As one of our party said this morning: “Such a grand story told in such intimate, personal scenes.”
Deborah Voigt was magnificent as Brunhilde. Young enough; vital enough; sprited & independent to believe she would defy Wotan. I love her voice and attitude.
But to me Kaufmann as Siegmund stole the show. He was sensitive, sensuous, and sounds so perfect that I could listen to him all day. This was a hero worthy of his role in fathering Siegfried. Indeed the father here is far more heroic than the son who gets a whole opera named for him. Maybe this today should have been called Siegmund & Sieglinda, for the both took us to new heights of the perfection & indulgence of love and sin.
Thanks to YouTube, you can get a snippet of what I mean. But believe me, this is but a snippet. The whole is magnificent opera beyond belief.
Apparently both Kauffman and Terfel have three kids. A testament to opera productivity. I too have three, and one of them, plus daughter, is here in the house with me for the summer. I tried the four-year old out on opera this evening. I put on a DVD of Donizetti’s La Cenerentola. She loved it but asked “when are they going to talk?”
I explained that in opera they only sing. “Like Disney, but more,” she exclaimed. Maybe I can get her hooked on opera this summer. The only bad thing about opera being that there is no regular Saturday opera. Unless you watch the Met repeats. No way, the sun is out and summer is here. Lets get outside.
PS. The mechanical failure of the fancy 45 tonne stage set reminds us of the dangers in mining of being too fancy, too sophisticated, too clever. Rather seek indices, numbers that capture the essence, than seek to be technically and scientifically precise at the expense of getting an overall understanding of the situation, Avoid the fancy, new, promise-all equipment in favor of the simple and proven approach. At least the latter works; the former impresses, but has an alarming tendency to fail when the bosses are watching.
PPS. This is not an opera for kids. Some poor father who had enticed his 14-year old son to this morning’s opera, left at the end of the first act. How do you explain love between parted twins and hence incest to a 14-year old? I had to deal with pregnancy and abortion when my son was that age. It is not easy.