Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SF Opera Ring Cycle 3: Das Rheingold

Dessert plate at JardiniereEnthusiasm has only increased for San Francisco Opera's Ring Cycle. It was 2 deep in upstairs standing room for cycle 3's Das Rheingold on Tuesday night. I sat on the floor at the back of the balcony & just listened to this performance. The orchestra was much more secure & modulated than in the Cycle 1 Rheingold. The brasses delivered a nearly flawless performance, sounding becalmed in the overture, burnished in the Valhalla chords, & full during the entry into Valhalla. The gradual unfurling of the sword motif was thrilling. The oboe solos were beautifully played, & the entire orchestra was especially taut in the Niebelheim scene.

The singing was equally gorgeous. The pleasing crystalline clarity of Stefan Margita's Loge is still a wonder, & he received the largest ovation of the evening. Even without watching his performance, the disdain of the character was plain. I also enjoyed Elizabeth Bishop's plush-sounding Fricka & Andrea Silvestrelli's cavernous Fasolt. Gerd Grochowski & Brandon Jovanovich as Donner & Froh is luxury casting. Neither of them sound as effete as they behave in this staging. I continue to admire Mark Delavan's lyrical & connected singing as Wotan, though I'm still struggling with this testy, insecure version of the chief god. The Niebelungen were terrific screamers this evening. I could hear them shriek even when they were well offstage. The humor of this staging was evident in the free laughter of the audience.

Before the performance I joined a delightful gathering of Ring attendees all connected through twitter. When I tried to explain the tweetup to a curious lady seated near us, she at first thought we were all twitter employees.

§ Das Rheingold
San Francisco Opera Ring Cycle 2011

Conductor: Donald Runnicles
Director: Francesca Zambello

Woglinde: Stacey Tappan
Wellgunde: Lauren McNeese
Flosshilde: Renée Tatum
Alberich: Gordon Hawkins
Fricka: Elizabeth Bishop
Wotan: Mark Delavan
Freia: Melissa Citro
Fasolt: Andrea Silvestrelli
Fafner: Daniel Sumegi
Froh: Brandon Jovanovich
Donner: Gerd Grochowski
Loge: Stefan Margita
Mime: David Cangelosi
Erda: Ronnita Miller

War Memorial Opera House
Tue 06/28/11 8:00pm

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