* Notes *
A second performance of the new Siegfried at Bayreuth was held on Saturday. It seems that Frank Castorf put more time into this opera than the previous two of Der Ring des Nibulungen, and the results are unfortunate. The action is set at Bahnhof Alexanderplatz in Berlin and an alternate version of Mount Rushmore with depictions of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. These settings are very specific, so using them to represent different scenes is problematic. On the positive side, the projections are fairly subdued. Showing backstage before Erda's entrance is engaging and less irrelevant than much of what we have seen in previously.
None of the characters seem to act in human ways, their movements are rarely motivated by anything in the libretto or on the stage. More than one of the singers climbs the stage right stairs to touch Marx's mustache. The staging is also very noisy, Siegfried throws lawn furniture and books, Mime cuts carrots as loudly as possible. The worst part is when Siegfried shoots Fafner with a machine gun. This Siegfried is a brutish, violent lout, so it is hard to see why the showgirl Waldvogel is so taken with him, much less Brünnhilde.
Kirill Petrenko continues to conduct the orchestra with a translucency and lightness. The harps sound particularly gorgeous. The horn solo in Act II was strangely vulnerable. The balance between orchestra and singers remained fine.
Mirella Hagen is a charming Waldvogel, gamely flitting about the stage in her clumsily enormous costume. Her voice is markedly bird-like. She is inexplicably eaten by a crocodile at the end of the opera. Nadine Weissmann (Erda) sounded unearthly. Sorin Coliban threatened as Fafner. Martin Winkler's Alberich has a differentiated sound from Wolfgang Koch's Der Wanderer. Koch sang with mastery and beauty. Burkhard Ulrich sounded bright as Mime, his German was particularly easy to understand. As Brünnhilde, Catherine Foster floated her opening notes hailing the sun, light, and day. Lance Ryan (Siegfried) was inconsistent and not terribly secure. He did sing the line "So starb meine Mutter an mir?" with particular tenderness.
* Tattling *
There was strong booing for the production at the end of each act and when the principals took a bow on the set after the opera.