Sunday, July 03, 2011

SF Opera Ring Cycle 3: Siegfried

San Francisco OperaI'm so glad I decided to hear these final San Francisco Opera Ring Cycle performances. For Friday's Siegfried, I sat on the floor at the back of the balcony with a libretto for the 1st two acts then squeezed in between some friends at the rail for the 3rd act to watch Nina Stemme's radiant Brünnhilde awaken. The orchestra continues to be a beautiful & responsive instrument in itself. Act I was bouncy & nimble. The forging music had a fleetness to it. Even without watching David Cangelosi's animated performance, I got the full impression of his funny & characterful Mime. Jay Hunter Morris sounded bigger & more open than in his cycle 1 performance, & he communicated a bounding youthfulness.

In Act II, people gasped when the clarinet squeaked at the beginning of the Forest Murmurs, but I've been enjoying the clarinet's floaty playing throughout the cycle so much that this made no difference to me. Mr. Morris's singing was especially buoyant & sweet in this scene. There was genuine laughter when the English horn deliberately squawked, & the French horn played Siegfried's calls fearlessly.

The orchestra played out during the Wanderer scenes of Act III, occasionally drowning out the singers. Mr. Morris sang with continued vigor yet never sounded strained. I found him exciting. The balcony audience laughed when they saw the OperaVision close-up of his sly look as he prepared to kiss the sleeping Brünnhilde. Before singing a note, Nina Stemme emoted a great deal as she reacted to the sun. Her voice was powerful & full of warmth, sometimes taking on a velvety tone. She was a dynamo & expressed great joy in the final moments.

The Opera Tattler attending Siegfried as the Forest BirdPrior to the performance, the Opera Tattler allowed me to photograph her Forest Bird look. This is the outfit which she kept hidden during the Cycle I Siegfried due to a pre-performance mishap. Up in standing room, I saw a dog trot to a balcony seat, a man in a utilikilt, & a man in shorts & a colorful vest who stretched himself on the floor & went to sleep as soon as the lights went down.

§ Siegfried
San Francisco Opera Ring Cycle 2011

Conductor, Donald Runnicles
Director, Francesca Zambello

Siegfried, Jay Hunter Morris
The Wanderer (Wotan), Mark Delavan
Brünnhilde, Nina Stemme
Mime, David Cangelosi
Alberich, Gordon Hawkins
Fafner, Daniel Sumegi
Erda, Ronnita Miller
Forest Bird, Stacey Tappan

Fri 07/1/11 6:30pm

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