Friday, June 15, 2018

SF Opera Walküre 1

From the 1st moments of San Francisco Opera's Die Walküre on Wednesday evening, the orchestra played with vigor & a purposeful forward momentum. The strings were unified & incisive, & there were beautifully sweet solos from the entire woodwind section, especially the clarinets & oboes. The brasses popped out boldly.

Tenor Brandon Jovanovich was a virile Siegmund, his singing connected, resonant & urgent. Soprano Karita Mattila as Sieglinde did not sound as youthful, but I enjoyed her wide, viscous voice & compelling acting. In this staging, Sieglinde is clearly a captive, & in act 2 she portrayed that trauma movingly. As Hunding, bass Raymond Aceto was appropriately predatory. He makes a nice sound, & his singing was firm. The 2 dogs that ran across the stage before the fight between Hunding & Siegmund in act 2 really seemed to be chasing something.

Soprano Iréne Theorin was a startlingly hyperactive Brünnhilde when she entered in act 2. Her voice was sturdy & aggressive, & her stamina was immediately apparent. She varied her performance by singing loudly or softly. Mezzo Jamie Barton was a furious & confident Fricka, her singing shining & clear with lots of vocal color. The staging of her dispute with Wotan included humorous moments that got the audience laughing, & her fiery performance was like a punch in the face. Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley has a big, powerful voice, & his delivery as Wotan was consistently stentorian. His sound carried even when he was far upstage during his final lines of the opera.

During the opening of act 3, the audience applauded for the valkyries descending by parachute & for the portraits of fallen soldiers. The valkyries each sang out assertively, & it was sometimes possible to distinguish individual singers. The production requires a lot of acting from the cast, & it was nice that everyone moved well on stage. The real fire that courses round the set at the end of the opera is a fine spectacle.

§ Die Walküre
San Francisco Opera Ring Cycle 1

Conductor, Donald Runnicles
Director, Francesca Zambello

Brünnhilde, Iréne Theorin
Wotan, Greer Grimsley
Sieglinde, Karita Mattila
Siegmund, Brandon Jovanovich
Fricka, Jamie Barton
Hunding, Raymond Aceto
Siegrune, Laura Krumm
Grimgerde, Renée Rapier
Ortlinde, Sarah Cambidge
Gerhilde, Julie Adams
Rossweisse, Lauren McNeese
Schwertleite, Nicole Birkland
Helmwige, Melissa Citro
Waltraute, Renée Tatum

Wednesday, 06/13/18, 7:00pm
War Memorial Opera House

No comments: