* Notes *
The second cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen at San Francisco Opera continued Wednesday night with Die Walküre (Act I pictured left, photo by Cory Weaver). The orchestra sounded cleaner than last week. Donald Runnicles seems to be leading an understated, subtle rendering, which is rather beautiful. The strings played especially well, the violin soli were gorgeous. Mark Delavan's Wotan is vulnerable and human. He was especially hard to hear at the end, as he is rather far upstage, but he does have a lovely voice. Most impressive were Brandon Jovanovich as Siegmund and Nina Stemme as Brünnhilde. Jovanovich sounded bright and robust. Stemme produces a rich, full sound, and never yelled or screeched.
* Tattling *
There were lots of people in the balcony for standing room. Most were quiet. Someone's hearing aid made a terrible sound in the first act. One of Hunding's dogs may have barked, or at least yelped. I was told that one of the projections did not work for the last scene in Act I, but did not witness this as I read the score during the performance.