* Notes *
Cycle 2 of Der Ring des Nibelungen at San Francisco Opera concluded with Götterdämmerung (final scene of Act III pictured left, photo by Cory Weaver) today. The orchestra was in fine form under Donald Runnicles. The bass clarinet, harp, and trumpet sounded especially wonderful. The chorus did well, and the male chorus sounded more together in Act III.
It was less easy to discern which words Andrea Silvestrelli continued to impress as Hagen. Ian Storey's voice did not disappear this time as he sang Siegfried. He seemed flat at times, but he did sound warm. Nina Stemme was simply amazing as Brünnhilde. There were times when she might have been difficult to understand as far as the enunciation of her words, but the emotional import was never lost. The last scene was splendid, Stemme and orchestra sounded incredibly beautiful.
* Tattling *
There were no seats left in the house, and standing room was crowded. Because of the Pride festivities, there were many late-comers, most of whom seemed very irritated that they could not take their seats during the 1 hour and 50 minutes of the Prologue and Act I. A watch alarm was noted during Act I. Snoring was also heard in both Acts I and II.
As part of my Rheinmaiden costume I carried a fishbowl with gold marbles in it. One of the ushers deliberated on whether I would be allowed into the standing room area in the balcony with the marbles, as I was told I might make noise with them, and I was told I had to be very careful. After entering the balcony I was immediately asked if the marbles were food by another usher. Ironically, the usher in the center aisle spoke a great deal, as she told people they could not take their seats (if they were late), return to their seats (if they went to the restroom), or stand in the aisle unless they were ushers (as they would be a fire hazard). Obviously she was just trying to do her job and follow the rules, but the amount of talking aloud was distracting.