Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Die Walküre in Melbourne

Inside Melbourne's State Theatre
Miriam Gordon-Stewart (Sieglinde) and Stuart Skelton (Siegmund) opened last night's dress rehearsal of Die Walküre at the Melbourne State Theatre with a vocally stunning and utterly convincing performance, melting the audience into a state of overwhelmed bliss. The rest of the cast was extraordinarily good as well. Jud Arthur a suitably threatening Hunding, Jacqueline Dark a convincing Fricka (despite the awful beige dress and granny shoes she had to wear) and Terje Stensvold a strong though vulnerable Wotan. Susan Bullock sang a Brünnhilde I'll not forget. She was wonderful, vibrant and fun. The orchestra under the capable baton of Pietari Inkinen really supported the cast and received a big ovation from the delighted audience.
This time the staging also supported the story and music. A few nights ago Rhinegold, all feathers and beige granny shoes, had left me underwhelmed despite strong performances from the singers and orchestra and obviously expert stagecraft. It felt misogynist and racist to me, the magic of the music almost entirely lost. But congratulations to Opera Australia for Die Walküre. I wait with baited breath for the next instalment of the story ...

Addendum: Today (Wednesday) I spoke to a woman for whom this Ring Cycle is her first Wagner experience.  She said she had liked Rhinegold best so far and when I asked what part in particular she said 'the cigarette ladies with their coloured feathers.' So there you go, everyone sees through different eyes

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