Sunday, 19 June 2016

Richard Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen - Siegfried - Staatsoper im Schillertheater Berlin

Performance 15th June

Once again I have been lucky and had the chance to see Siegfried as well. Having liked Rheingold very much I was really excited about this performance because the cast was really something not to be missed. The production of Siegfried was not as interesting as Rheingold but also featured really interesting details. Guy Cassiers used the different lightning concepts and the relief walls in the background again even though the effect did not work out as strong as in Rheingold. The stage (Guy Cassiers & Enrico Bagnoli) looked really great during act two with very abstract trees which really looked impressively. Also the staging of Erda's appearance and the awakening of Brünnhilde looked marvelously and had a great impression on me. Tim van Steenbergen's costumes looked very interesting as well. While Alberich and Wotan looked like some sort of bugs, Brünnhilde and Erda wore very elegant dresses and Siegfried looked like a rockstar. The dancers were not as prominent as in Rheingold but were featured in some really important moments. This time the dancing was not as noisy so I really totally enjoyed it this time.
Daniel Barenboim once again did  great job conducting the Staatskapelle Berlin. The dynamic range and the uncompromising accuracy of the orchestra was really compelling. Barenboim had everything under controll and was able to create a wonderful atmosphere and impressive progressions. I loved that he kept the brass down in order to not cover the strings for important motifs.
As the little bird from the forest we heard young Austrian soprano Christina Gansch who has a wonderful light lyric soprano with a very appealing timbre. Having heard her in Salzburg already it was a pleasure to hear her again and a pity that she did not sing more. She performed it very appropriately with a very bright and flexible voice.
Falk Struckmann as Fafner was not as pleasing as in Rheingold. Even though he sang very well and his voice is very powerful I missed the darkness and profundity of this role in his voice. I personally would like to have a very dark and sluggish voice for this role, but as I said it was just a matter of taste.
Jochen Schmeckenbecher once again did a good job as Alberich with his very light clear voice. His performance was thrilling again and very convincing especially during the first scene of act 2. He performed the role very well both, vocally and acting-wise.
As Erda we heard Anna Larsson again who gave a compelling performance. Appearing from a huge heap of fabric she looked marvelous in that dress and was very convincing. Not only vocally with her soft mezzo voice, but also with great mimics and acting.
Stephan Rügamer also sang again, this time as Mime. He did a very good job in this role even though I preferred his Loge because the voice suited this role more. Anyway, his Mime was performed on a very high level as well and he showed a great range of interpretative possibilities.
Iain Paterson sang the role of Wanderer really excitingly and with great authority. His voice seemed to be not totally comfortable with the high parts of the role but he managed everything without any problems. The timbre of his voice seems perfect for this role and his performance was simply thrilling. Especially the great riddle scene of act 1 was one of my highlights of the evening because of his great singing.
The hero of the evening was Andreas Schager as Siegfried proving once again that he is one of the leading Wagner tenors of our times. I do not know what to write about him anymore because it is always the same. His powerful tenor has a very unusually bright timbre and his voice also convinces with great flexibility. His upper register is simply incredible and his stamina really impressive. Already after the first act he totally brought down the house.
With Iréne Theorin he had a Brünnhilde that could easily keep up with him. Her voice is powerful, steely and her high notes are seemingly effortless. But not only can she sing very loudly, she also showed some great piano singing during the final "Ewig war ich, ewig bin ich". I have never heard it so delicately and calmy before. Theorin showed that she simply is one of the few singers out there who can sing this repertoire without ruining their voices. Brava!
Alltogether it was a magic evening that really made my heart beat faster. This was world-class singing and I am really happy that I had the chance to hear it. Therefor there will be 9 stars for the Siegfried at Staatsoper Berlin.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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