Sunday, 8 May 2016

Richard Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen - Die Walküre - Oper Leipzig

Performance 6th May

The first full evening (after the so-called pre-evening) was something I was looking forward to with great expectations. An impressive cast was found for this performance and so I was sure to hear a brilliant performance. Unfortunately the great potential of the disposition did not work out as expected. The production of Walküre (I was lucky enough to have seen this one before) is very dedicated and intimate. Once again there could me more interaction and a more innovative concept but I was happy with the work that Rosamund Gilmore did. The stage (Carl Friedrich Oberle) and the costumes (Nicola Reichert) looked even more elegantl than in Rheingold and created a great atmosphere throughtout the evening. Especially the second act was astonishing with great impressions.
The musical part was not as satisfying as the day before. Ulf Schirmer seemed not to have everything fully under controll this evening. The Gewandhausorchester sounded quite loud at some moments and especially the string section was covered by the wind several times (at important passages). There should have been a bit more balance between the different sections and maybe even less volume from time to time.
Vocally the cast would have been on a very high level throughout the list. The valkyries (Marika Schönberg, Magdalena Hinterdobler, Monica Mascus, Sandra Janke, Daniela Köhler, Sandra Maxheimer, Karin Lovelius and Wallis Giunta) were a very balanced ensemble with great voices. I have to point out Miss Köhler at this point because her valkyrie shouts were exemplary and her voice definitely worth to be remembered.
Rúni Brattaberg sang the role of Hunding with his strong dark bass voice. I personally thought he could be a bit more clearer in his singing but he gave a solid performance. A bit more refinement and intimidating expression and he would be a marvelous Hunding.
Kathrin Göring as Fricka definitely was a highlight of the whole evening. Her clear and stron mezzo voice suits the role lovely and her performance was hauntingly intense with great clarity and exemplary diction. She portrayed her character simply marvelously.
The role of Siegmund was sung by Andreas Schager who is one of the most promising heroic tenors of our time. His voice is powerful with instensive radiance and effortless high notes. His voice has an enormous potential and he is singing almost all great Wagner tenor roles at the moment. Maybe too much. He had serious text issues and seemed not totally prepared. What a pity, because his voice was just perfect for the role but there were just too many blurry errors.
Christiane Libor also seemed to be a bit tense but did a good job. Her gleaming soprano is just perfect for this role. The mix of power, beauty of tone and her striking ability to combine dramatic singing with lyric qualities make her one of the best wagnerian sopranos of our time. Also the dynamic range is impressive because she can do anything from the most delicate pianissimo to enormous outbreaks  and still retain her beautiful timbre.
Markus Marquardt sang the role of Wotan and was quite unlucky this evening. He missed his entrance during act three because the call system of the house did not work. So the performance was interrupted and restarted after some time. Nevertheless he gave a wonderful performance with his heroic baritone voice. I thought that his performance in Dresden in february was better but he did a great job here as well. I actually thought that he sang even more intensively after the misfortune and the audience was very happy with his performance anyway.
Eva Johansson performed the title hero, Brünnhilde. She definitely is past her prime now and cannot sing this role as intensively as she did years ago anymore. Her lower register became quite weak and the top register rather shaky. Nevertheless she gave a good third act where she was way better than in act 2. I do not know where she took the power from but the final act was really magnificent and sung appropriately.
Alltogether it was a rather sobering performance that did not work out as it should have. It could have been an incredible evening and a firework of Wagner music, but in the end it just did not live up to its potential. Therefor I can only give 6 stars to the performance of Walküre.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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