Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Richard Wagner, Götterdämmerung - Linzer Landestheater

Performance 22nd March

As final part of the Linz Ring I was able to see Götterdämmerung yesterday. After more than a year and three lovely opera evenings before the great apocalytic finale was quite interesting. Again the production of Uwe Eric Laufenberg had some really interesting ideas and especially the costumes (Antje Sternberg) where wonderful and very elegant. I actually have to say that optically I liked Götterdämmerung best because of its really clear and elegant staging (Gisbert Jäkel).
Musically I was expecting a little bit more after the great success with Siegfried (see my review from last december). Ingo Ingensand's interpretation seemed a little bit boring and did not really show the many details appropriately and the Bruckner Orchester Linz performed very guardedly and cautiously. I sometimes missed the great orchestral outbursts that clearly make an important part of Götterdämmerung. The choir (Chor und Extrachor des Linzer Landestheaters) did a fine job with the great choir scenes in the second act.
Nevertheless the whole performance was still steady and fine if you think of the possibilities of the Landestheater. At this point I have to say that the whole Ring there was a marvelous experience and one can just hope that they will do some more Wagner in the future!
The vocal performances also were quite well. Many singers that performed in the other three operas returned for another role like the three norns. Bernadette Fodor (Erda, Schwertleite, Fricka) sang both the first norn and Waltraute and even though she was announced a little indisposed she did a great job. I would never have guessed that she was not totally fine. Her powerful and profound mezzo had no problems to fill the auditorium throughout her full range.
Karen Robertson (Fricka) sang the second norn also with a powerful voice even though she sounded a little bit shrill in the upper register and had quite some vibrato. Still her performance was very dramatic and fine overall.
As third norn Brit-Tone Müllertz (Freia, Sieglinde) gave a wonderful performance with her bright strong soprano which has a lovely but dramatic timbre. I would have loved to her more from her!
Also the three rhinemaidens did a fine Job (Claudia Braun-Tietje, Gotho Griesmeier, Valentina Kutzarova). All three of them had strong and seductive voices and sang their melismata with great ease.
Once again we heard Bjørn Waag as Alberich and once again he impressed me with his incredible clarity. We were able to understand every single syllable he sang without any problems and also his stamina is exemplary even though his timbre is not as profound as one would expect for this role.
Another strong voice was Seho Chang as Gunther. He portrayed the unsteady king with great depth and a wonderful heroic timbre. Also his sister Gutrune, portrayed by Sonja Gornik, was a delightful voice to listen to. You could clearly hear that there is a big voice behind this lovely exterior and she showed it several times this evening.
As a guest Zelotes Edmund Toliver performed the operas main antagonist Hagen with a really profound voice with dark timbre. Especially during the second act he managed to impress the audience with his rough part. Also his huge physique fitted the part perfectly.
Lars Cleveman, who also sang the Siegfried-Siegfried, seemed to like the Götterdämmerung part way better. He sang more clearly and seemed to be more comfortable in general. He showed his vocal power with a strong upper register and nice phrasing throughout the whole performance. Especially in the final act he seemed to accumulate his vocal power towards the climax.
Also Elena Nebera as Brünnhilde gave a fine performance again although her role in Siegfried fitted her voice better. Again her upper register showed her strenghts and her stamina while her lower register sometimes seemed a little bit weak. Maybe she and her voice will grow with the role and she will improve her lower register. Nevertheless she gave a wonderful rendition of her role and her acting was really great. I especially liked her final of the third act where she seemed to unleash all her powers.
In the end I have to say that the Linz Ring is really recommendable and I hope they will do a revival soon. The whole Ring was well done both musically and optically and I think it also was a great success for the Linzer Landestheater.
I give the last part of the Ring in Linz 8 stars.

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