Monday, 9 May 2016

Richard Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen - Siegfried - Oper Leipzig

Performance 7th May

After the shaky Walküre on friday I was hoping for a better Siegfried and I have to say that this performance compensated for the previous evening. It was a true firework of great voices and surely the best performance so far. The production of Rosamund Gilmore seems to get better throughout the whole Ring. The interaction between the characters seemed very authentic and clear during this performance and the stage (Carl Friedrich Oberle) and the costumes (Nicola Reichert) also looked even better than in Walküre. Especially the second and third act looked just magnificently and served the plot really well. Also the role of the dancers seemed way more plausible than in the other parts so far. Especially the role of the bird as a dancer was a lovely idea.
Ulf Schirmer once again released the full power of the orchestra which sometimes just ended in unbalanced noise because of the relatively immense brass section. The string section really had to fight to be heard at all. Schirmer should hold the brass a bit more under control to ensure a balanced sound. Also some singers had to fight the wall of sound  that Schirmer and the Gewandhausorchester unleashed from the pit quite intensely.
Eun Yee You as the forest's bird was acceptable, but not really the ideal voice for this role. Her voice seemed not to be bright and radiant enough for this role. Unlike other Wagner soprano roles this one calls for a very clear and shiny light soprano with almost Mozart-like brightness in the voice.
Jürgen Linn as Alberich did a way better job this time than in Rheingold. Obviously this Alberich suits his voice better. The performance was more controlled and definitely more accurate. Rúni Brattaberg also appeared to be more comfortable in the role of Fafner than the evening before. The sluggish low phrases of Fafner sounded simply marvelously and showed the dark qualities of Brattaberg's voice.
In the role of Erda we heard Nicole Piccolomini once again. Her performance in Siegfried was even more intensive than the one in Rheingold and her incredibly dark and warm voice suited the role perfectly. Her strength is the balanced eveness of her full sonorous lower register which is so important for this kind of roles.
Dan Karlström also did a brilliant job as Mime. I have to say that I do not know what could be done better. His diction is clear, his light clear tenor voice has enough power to be heard through the orchestra and his whole portrayal was just really convincing. Bravo!
As Wanderer we heard Evgeny Nikitin who has seemed to be a very low Wanderer. While having a very good lower register he seemed not really comfortable with the upper parts of the role. Alltogether his performance was quite good even though his voice could be a bit more powerful and more heroic.
Elisabet Strid was one of the highlights of the performance with her very lyric but also very powerful soprano voice. Her Brünnhilde convinces with the sheer beauty of her voice, very elegant singing and also the neccessary power. Compared to her debut last year she was even better this time. Her phrasing was brilliant and the mix of power and beauty of tone worked out very well. If she manages to make the final high c a bit more shiny and bright in the future she would be a Brünnhilde to keep watching.
The event of the evening was Stefan Vinke as Siegfried. It is really incredible to hear a tenor who sings this incredibly difficult and demanding role seemingly easily without any signs of tiredness. The sheer power of his voice and the heroic dark timbre of his tenor make him one of the leading Siegfrieds of our time. Even during the finale of act three after hours of singing he still sounds freshly and vibrantly. Also his acting was really nice and showed great understanding of the role. He definitely brought down the house and it was an enormous pleasure to hear a singer that is not just able to sing the role, but also be really convincing in it.
Even though Siegfried is not my favorite of the Ring operas I loved the performance and was just delighted because of the brilliant accomplishment of the cast this evening. Therefor I give 9 stars to the third evening of the Leipzig Ring.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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