Thursday, June 23, 2011

SF Opera Ring Cycle 2: Die Walküre

San Francisco OperaWalküre is my favorite of the Ring operas, so I could not keep away from this cycle 2 performance at the SF Opera. I did not watch but instead sat on a bench at the back of the balcony to listen, though I did take a peek over the railing to gaze at the real flames at the end. The Opera Tattler lent me her score, & I tried to follow along.

The performance had an even, continuous flow instead of moving from climax to climax. The orchestra sounded more relaxed than last week, the strings were more unified, & there was beautiful playing from every section. The trumpets played with clear articulation. They must have to do that sword motif a hundred times each performance!

I continue to enjoy Brandon Jovanovich's Siegmund. His voice is weighty, yet the singing is lyrical & connected. He goes sharp when his character gets excited, though, such as during his cries of "Wälse!" Anja Kampe gives a sweeping, involved performance as Sieglinde. Daniel Sumegi's voice is gruff & hollow as Hunding, though I wished for him to sound more threatening. I like Elizabeth Bishop's full, grounded sound & her commanding, confident Fricka. I still haven't figured out what I think of Mark Delevan's exceedingly human, insecure Wotan. I like the clarity of his expression & his lack of heavy bluster. Nina Stemme still sounds fresh, strong & vibrant as Brünnhilde. Where does all that power come from?

Fricka at SF Opera Ring CycleIt seemed like there were more standees than last week. Strangely, spots #1 & #2 were unoccupied when the doors opened to let them in. I ran into John Marcher among them. The Opera Tattler attended as her interpretation of Fricka as a shrewish 1950s housewife, wielding a rolling pin.

§ Die Walküre
San Francisco Opera Ring Cycle 2011

Conductor: Donald Runnicles
Director: Francesca Zambello

Sieglinde: Anja Kampe
Siegmund: Brandon Jovanovich
Hunding: Daniel Sumegi
Wotan: Mark Delavan
Brünnhilde: Nina Stemme
Fricka: Elizabeth Bishop

Ortlinde: Melissa Citro
Schwertleite: Cybele Gouverneur
Waltraute: Daveda Karanas
Gerhilde: Sara Gartland
Helmwige: Tamara Wapinsky
Siegrune: Maya Lahyani
Grimgerde: Renée Tatum
Rossweisse: Lauren McNeese

War Memorial Opera House
Wed 06/22/11 7:00pm

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