Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Richard Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen - Siegfried - Tiroler Festspiel Erl

Performance 2. / 3. August (Part of the 24h-Ring)

The third part of the cycle was maybe the most exhausting one although the performance itself was just amazing. Starting at 23:00 on the same day as Die Walküre, Siegfried went on until almost 4:00 in the morning of the following day. Still Gustav Kuhn and the Orchester der Tiroler Festspiele Erl did not show signs of exhaustion and still gave a great performance. The orchestra was playing very clearly and Kuhn's interpretation was very interesting and sophisticated.
Wolfram Wittekind as Mime openend the opera with a very strong and warm tenor voice. I normally expected a weaker voice, but I really liked the stronger approach to this role. He sounded way less shrill and grotesque than most other Mime singers I heard.
Mime's brother Alberich was performed by Oskar Hillebrandt who (although already quite old) still filled the auditorium with his dark bass voice. The timbre is very dark and seems perfect for this evil role. I was really impressed by the power that his voice still has.
Thomas Gazheli, who sang the Rheingold-Alberich, sang the role of the Wanderer this time and showed a totally different side of his voice. Instead of the evil-dark timbre he had as Alberich he sang the Wanderer with a very noble and superior voice. I was very surprised positively and really liked his singing a lot. It was really impressive how much he was able to change his voice and his singing according to the role.
Andrea Silvestrelli who, once again, sang Fafner the giant (this time as huge worm / dragon) was simply perfect for this role. His incredibly dark voice made everyone believe that he really IS a big monster. Together with the dragon on stage his performance made the dragon scene in the second act really exciting and less awkward than many other productions. I don't remember that I have ever heard a voice with such a black timbre.
The little role of the Waldvogel was sung by Bianca Tognocchi who has a very lovely soprano voice with a light and delicate timbre. Her angel-like voice geniuinely sounds like a bird and it was a pity that she didn't sing more. Anyway many people had the Waldvogel-music stuck in their head during the second intermission.
Also returning for a great performance was Elena Suvorova as Erda. Once again she did not fail to impress with her very beautiful profound contralto. Thankfully this time she came out from the door in the floor of the stage so we could see her beautiful costume as well. Her short scene in the beginning of the third act was one of my favorite scenes of this opera and showed a woman with great talent.
The role of Siegfried was performed by the tenor Michael Baba who I already knew from a Tristan performance in Salzburg some time ago. He was way more impressive as Siegfried in my opinion than he was as Tristan. He has a very strong and youthfull tenor voice with a very good high register which is quite important for this role. Especially the scenes with Mime were very delightful because of those two beautiful voices.
The last performer of the evening was Nancy Weißbach as Brünnhilde. The Siegfried-Brünnhilde is maybe the most lyrical one of the three different operas. Nancy Weißbach did a great job combining a beautiful lyric voice with strong sheer power and an amazing stamina. Her high c's were impressive and not as short as many other Brünnhilde performers sing them. All in all she gave an amazing performance (especially if you think of the time when she was singing - something between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning!!).
Alltogether I would give Siegfried 7 stars.
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