Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Richard Wagner, Siegfried - Linzer Musiktheater

Performance 25th December

As first part of my christmas opera marathon I heard the third opera of the ring cycle of the Linzer Landestheater. I already saw Rheingold (exactly one year earlier) and Walküre (in June) and was impressed that the productions were actually really good (if you think of the size of the house). Even though Siegfried is my anti-favorite of the four operas I like this production best from the Linzer Ring. The singing was mostly really top and the staging wasn't that bad either. Uwe Eric Laufenberg (who will do the 2016 Bayreuth Parsifal instead of Jonathan Meese) did a good job as director together with Gisbert Jäkel (stage) and Antje Sternberg (costumes). The whole concept was very clear and had some impressive parts (for example the video montages).
Dennis Russell Davies obviously likes Siegfried better because this time his conducting was really good and was full of power, subtleties and great phrasing. The Brucknerorchester Linz had no problems to realise his desires and played really well with great dynamic contrasts and nice soli.
Matthäus Schmidlechner sang a very strong Mime with exemplary diction. You could hear every single syllable so clear that it seemed that he is talking normally. His whole portrayal of the role was really impressive and totally convincing.
Mime's brother, Alberich, was sung by Bjørn Waag who has a huge voice. I was really blown away by the sheer power of his voice even though he might not have the usual darkness for this role in his voice. This voice truly has no problems to be covered at all. Besides, the timbre of the voice is also very beautiful und heroic, just not really perfect for this role.
Dominik Nekel sang Fafner the giant / dragon and also did a fine job with this profound and interesting role. He had both, the low notes and the timbre to portray the huge sleeping dragon.
In the role of Wanderer / Wotan we had the pleasure to hear Gerd Grochowski again who I liked even better this time. His voice emits great elegance and nobility, but at the same time power and danger. His heroic and noble timbre fitted the role perfectly and he also acted really well and convincingly.
As Erda I heard someone I already knew from the Erl Festival: Elena Suvorova. What can I say, her voice is quite powerful and is able to sing the low notes of this profound role without any problems. Her timbre is dark and still noble and superior. The whole Erda scene gave me shivers and I really enjoyed the great singing.
Another great singer in a small role was Elisabeth Breuer as Waldvogel. She has a lovely light voice with a very beautiful timbre and great agility. She sang this role exactly as I imagine it and made the scene in the woods one of the highlights of the evening.
Lars Cleveman was the only one I was not totally satisfied with. His diction was really bad and I would not have found out which language it was if I didn't know it was German. He might have a strong voice but it was not that impressive. Sometimes his timbre reminded me of James King but that was all. I hope he will improve until Götterdämmerung.
Elena Nebera was my personal highlight of the evening. I really did not expect her to be so outstanding. She definitely improved enormously since Walküre and totally nailed it with the Siegfried-Brünnhilde. Her diction was really good this time and her phrasing also improved a lot. Her upper register sounded way stronger, more controlled and did not have a strong vibrato at all. Her high b's and high c's were great, powerful and not as short as the ones of many other Brünnhildes.
Finally I am really happy that I took the chance to see this performance because it was really great and I liked every minute of it. The performance gets totally earned 8 stars.

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