Friday, June 22, 2018

SF Opera Ring Cycle 2

After the rigamarole of claiming prime standing room spots for the 1st cycle of San Francisco Opera's Ring Festival, it was a relief to attend the 1st two performances of cycle 2 sitting on the floor at the back of the balcony, with just the libretto to look at. The upstairs railing was full up, & during Rheingold I was next to people reading the score & a woman who curled up on the floor & napped for 2 and half hours.

I feel like the orchestra's playing improved steadily throughout the 1st cycle, & the sound was tremendous from up there. My ears were frequently drawn to the strings, clarinets & trumpets. Conductor Donald Runnicles made the music swell without pushing the tempos.

The cast practically flaunts its vocal strength & stamina. Tenor Štefan Margita, with the supple clarity of his voice, articulate expression & physical charisma, is an ideal Loge. Tenor Brandon Jovanovich sang Siegmund with heft, lyricism & energy to spare. It felt like he could have held the fermata on "Wälse!" for twice as long without a problem. Soprano Karita Mattila did not always sing Sieglinde with accuracy, but her broad, syrupy voice is so novel that I enjoyed hearing her nonetheless. The ardent expressiveness of mezzo Jamie Barton's singing as Fricka was impressive.

The audience applauded soprano Iréne Theorin's Brünnhilde after her 1st short scene in the 2nd act of Die Walküre, & there was laughter during the Wotan/Fricka scene. There was also delighted applause for the parachuting Valkyries in act 3. In Rheingold, the Nibelungs' screaming is terrific. It was great running into many opera friends at these performances, & I had fun taking in the lively atmosphere of Brünnhilde's Biergarten, which indeed offered beers, pretzels & wursts.

Conductor, Donald Runnicles
Director, Francesca Zambello

Alberich, Falk Struckmann
Fricka, Jamie Barton
Fafner, Raymond Aceto
Donner, Brian Mulligan
Freia, Julie Adams
Woglinde, Stacey Tappan
Wellgunde, Lauren McNeese
Flosshilde, Renée Tatum

Tuesday, 06/19/18, 7:30PM
War Memorial Opera House

§ 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, 06/20/18, 7:00pm
War Memorial Opera House

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