Sunday, June 17, 2018

SF Opera Siegfried 1

The 1st act of San Francisco Opera's Siegfried on Friday seemed to go by much faster than its 80 minute running time. The orchestra under conductor Donald Runnicles sounded bouncy, & the musicians' playing was agile & detailed. Tenor David Cangelosi was a lively Mime. His exuberant physical performance included dances & cartwheels, & his singing was expressive & fluent. Tenor Daniel Brenna was a rambunctious Siegfried, & his relaxed, almost casual, stage presence put me at ease. His voice is on the lighter side, a bit gritty & somewhat bright. Mr. Brenna had fun with the role & was playful & jolly in the forging scene, which demonstrated the sword-making steps clearly. As The Wanderer, Greer Grimsley sounded predominantly angry. His voice is big, centered & penetrating. Siegfried's bear was mischievous, & his antics included stealing a bag of potato chips from Mime's trailer.

I found the setting for act 2 to be confusing. We seem to be in an abandoned warehouse, with Fafner lying in wait just outside. Bass-baritone Falk Struckmann gave a dark portrayal of Alberich, sometimes snarling & declaiming the text rather than singing it, & his voice was focussed & firm. It wasn't clear to me why he had a shopping cart filled with Molotov cocktails. Bass Raymond Aceto sang Fafner with smooth phrasing, & his death scene was pitiable. In this staging the Forest Bird is a perky girl in a trench coat, & soprano Stacey Tappan sounded fit & bright, with chirpy high notes. The extended off-stage horn solo had good pacing & a modulated tone & was nearly flawless.

The playing of the orchestral passages in act 3 was brilliant. The prelude was vigorous & weighty. The violins' high, meandering music in the transition to scene 3 sounded eerie & translucent, & the orchestra's depiction of the Brünnhilde's awakening was gleaming. The brasses had far fewer bloopers than previous nights. Mezzo Ronnita Miller sang a rooted, imperturbable Erda & displayed baritonal low notes. Soprano Iréne Theorin's voice is brawny, & her Brünnhilde sounded consistently strong, even when she sang quietly. Siegfried seemed bemused by her behavior, at times even laughing at her.

There was a small baby at the back of the auditorium during the beginning of act 1 for some reason. So far I haven't seen as many Ring costumes worn by attendees as I was expecting, though I did spot a pair of gentlemen wearing lederhosen & horned helmets, & Opera Tattler was evidently paying tribute to Siegfried's bear.

§ Siegfried
San Francisco Opera Ring Cycle 1

Conductor, Donald Runnicles
Director, Francesca Zambello

Siegfried, Daniel Brenna
Brünnhilde, Iréne Theorin
Mime, David Cangelosi
The Wanderer, Greer Grimsley
Alberich, Falk Struckmann
Fafner, Raymond Aceto
Erda, Ronnita Miller
Forest Bird, Stacey Tappan

Friday, 06/15/18, 6:30pm
War Memorial Opera House 

1 comment:

Axel Feldheim said...
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