Thursday, September 13, 2012

Die Walkürie at the Met: This Ring Thing is Looking Up

OK, my opinion on Das Rhinegold still stands. But apparently for Die Walkürie, Mr. Lapage felt the Machine was more or less under control and was able to focus more on his singers. Either that, or the singers got fed up with waiting, and did their own Personenregie. Bryn Terfel was convincingly blustery and brow-beaten by Fricka, who at least got to emote facially. I was worried about both of them going over the edge—the edge of the Machine, that is. Deborah Voigt gave me a few moments’ cause for concern, too. (It didn’t help that I’d seen her fall in the documentary.)

Then again, maybe it was the presence of Eva-Maria Westerbroek and Jonas Kaufmann that drew me back into the drama. Well, their presence, and their singing.  I was disappointed that they were so far upstage, but I understood why—to be inside the hut—and it did add more excitement to the love duet when they finally moved downstage. Does anyone else have trouble ignoring the ick factor during this duet? It’s gorgeous music, but I keep thinking, “They’re brother and sister. Ewwwww.” So I kept my focus on Herr Kaufmann. (My companion—a fan of neither Wagner nor opera in general, who nevertheless remained in the room with me—glanced up from the Kindle and remarked, “Wow, he’s pretty easy on the eyes!”)
One thing they didn't mention on the PBS broadcast last night was the 45-minute delay experienced in the live theatrical broadcast last year. The Green Integer Blog had this to say back in May 2011 (emphasis is mine):

People patiently waited it seemed, both inside the opera house and at my movie theater, yet there was a sense, that only grew as the production got underway, that the wonderful performers—Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Jonas Kaufmann (Siegmund), Bryn Terfel (Wotan), and Hans-Peter König (Hunding)—were now subject to the directorially created machine.

Hmmmm...singers are "subject to the machine." So it's not just me! I also wondered with all the money spent on Machine and Projections why we were seeing the trees projected on the singers' faces.
I have to confess I only made it through Act 2, Scene 1 before giving in to sleep. It's hard to sit through 5 hours of Wagner after a 10-hour work day! Now I know why they have supper between the acts at Bayreuth!  But I did enjoy the first 3 hours or so, and I do have it on my TiVo now, so I will catch up soon. Things are looking up!

Other Met/Lepage Ring Posts

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