About Me

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Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Riding with Valkyries, AEROS Calder Cup Update

From the First 2-1 win over Bingo!
First an update: (Thanks to a screw up with posting schedule)
I can happily report that the AEROS win 2-1 over Binghamton in - what observers described - a mad scene type hockey game!
But we take any kind of win, right fans?
And so we now are assured that we shall have live hockey in June in Houston, next week..with one or two games to decide the Cup Winner!
Quoting - sort of  - from an Ortmeyer interview: "We love to reward the fantastic fans by winning the Cup in Houston"! We love you, too, Jed Ortmeyer!
Aeros in 6 or 7! Go O!

I did blog last night, but somehow goofed with the posting times.
So here it is now:
I saw/heard the encore of the famous (or infamous?) Valkyrie with Deborah Voigt as Brunnhilde, as *directed* by Robert Le Page. It is the 2. in the Met's Ring cycle which started with "Das Rheingold' (see review earlier in October 2010)..conducted by James Levine (seen here in his glory days as a musical Wunderkind)  who still was able to make magic of the score with the orchestra but unable to overcome the gaps left by the less than secure direction whose focus seem to have been more on the mechanics of the set than the the singers..leaving them to flounder among those planks! ;-) The brass section did an outstanding job and the overall impression of the orchestra was very positive! Mellifluous voiced *Renaissance Man* Placido Domingo did the honors of intro and interviews.

The set, very dark, looks like a huge slatted fence, with individually movable planks,
variously illuminated to resemble bark of trees, through which Siegmund rushes;
Horses? Planks? See Saw?
the horses which the Valkyrie ride with suggestive frenetic abandonment; and resembling volcanic lava boulders. The whole mostly bathed in rather dark light!
Perhaps seeing it LIVE in the theater would have given a much different image!
Probably techies could get sent by these mechanics!
I was not!

Since much effort and $ was given to the set, the singers mostly left on their own, did their best standing, kneeling, sitting and lying prone while delivering their arias.  The costumes were, as a whole, very  martial! Lots of shiny armors, chainlinks, spears, shields and sword, .
Then there were "Schattenspiel" like moments which told  earlier stories, as the one of the siblings torn apart, their mother killed, home burned, father *lost*!
So IMO despite the vaunted modern sets and techniques, the performance struck me just as much as a 'stand or the equivalent of stand (lol) and deliver' type albeit with frequent, too frequent, very close ups (that pertains of course to the simulcast transmission).
I really did not savor the close up of Kaufmann's saliva dribbling down his - admittedly handsome - chin.
Why show such moments, which do not flatter any singer, not even the rather romantic looking Kaufmann?And getting those real close peeks way down a singers throat could only interest an Ear-Nose-Throat specialist! 
But then I believe I have griped about such in posts on simulcasts before!
Please camera people let us have some illusions! I really have no wish to see uvulae, tonsils and such when attending an opera!

Last night,  I found myself just closing my eyes, and listened to the music and the singing!
Especially since the visuals seemed to be broken up or getting lost, from time to time!
The sound was never lost however! AND as loud as ever-thank goodness for earplugs!
And please theater people, must you crank up the A/C so high!
I truly have no wish to shiver through a Met simulcast, nor do I wish my eardrums to burst.
Thus warm hoodie and earplugs are a must have attire for simulcasts of any length!
And I guess movie , too!
(Now you see why I generally eschew going to the movies! Just wanna be warm and not deafened!)

The Brunnhilde of Soprano Deborah Voigt - shown below with Baritone Bryn Terfel as Wotan (this time eschewing the obscuring lock of hair (of Rheingold fame) in favor of the more traditional eye patch, lol) was a lighter sounding red haired Brunnhilde.
The most outstanding performance, and not just vocally, came  from Bryn Terfel.
His Wotan, a real tour de force, was terrifying, impressive, and guilt racked. Despite all the bluster, he had to submit to his wife Fricka's orders, who was sung with huge emphasis by a regal looking Stephanie Blythe.
Tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Siegmund used his - not quite Heldentenor - instrument with conviction, and strong lung power- really, to very good avail. Readily matched by Eva Maria Westbroek as his love interest, and twin sister Sieglinde, with equal fervor. Hunding was a vocally stout Rene Pape.
Terfel and Kaufmann sang with beautiful diction, closely followed by  Pape, Westbroek and Blythe.

Mezzo Stephanie Blythe as Fricka and Terfel as Wotan

Interesting but not really exciting stage set;  at least to me.
Very good orchestral perfomance and some outstanding singing..
6 plus hours almost well spent - with intermissions (which could have been trimmed to 10 minutes each for potty breaks. So no one need to head home in the witching hour lol)!
 *Ride of the Valkyries* as conducted by Wilhelm Furtwaengler/Wiener Philharmoniker
you might be familiar with it as music to *Apocalypse Now*, the Viet Nam Movie!

1 comment:

Opernliebhaber said...

Ich habe schon auf Ihre Ansicht gewartet. I habe die vorherige Show angesehen und stimme Ihnen zu, dass die Nahaufnahmen uns Opernliebhaber nicht interessieren.
Sonst war die Oper gut gesungen und gespielt!