* Notes *
The last performance of Das Rheingold at San Francisco Opera this summer was yesterday. The orchestra sounded better, the brass section was clearly more in tune. The Rheinmaidens sounded even prettier last night than they had earlier in the run. Tamara Wapinsky (Freia) still had a few high notes that wavered so much they were not in tune. The same goes for Jill Grove (Erda), though it wasn't so much the high E that was giving her difficulty, as in previous performances. Grove would have to repeat the same note, but sometimes her vibrato got in the way of this. However, Grove definitely showed improvement. Jennifer Larmore (Fricka) sounded nice, though still a tad quiet and thin.
Jason Collins (Froh) and Charles Taylor (Donner) both had the obnoxious swagger necessary for their parts, and they both had good volume. Taylor did especially well at the end when Donner summons a storm. Andrea Silvestrelli played the lovelorn Fasolt well, and Günther Groissböck was a fine foil as Fafner. David Cangelosi was perfectly sniveling as Mime, his voice is bright and seems to have enough volume. Richard Paul Fink (Alberich) gave a nuanced, beautifully colored performance. Stefan Margita stole the show, as Loge often does. Margita's voice is simply gorgeous and Loge's craftiness came through in his voice. After five performances, Mark Delavan sounded, understandably, more comfortable in the role of Wotan. I look forward to hearing him in 2010 when San Francisco Opera presents Die Walküre.
* Tattling (Or Why Sartre Was Right) *
I told myself that I was not going to get angry if the audience was ill-behaved, I was just going to read the score and concentrate my attention there. Unfortunately, standing room on the balcony level was completely full. There were no less than three conversations around me, and I had to hush them, as it was getting in the way of being able to read the score. The worst was between two girls, one of them had parked herself next to me and was leafing through her planner and playing with her cell phone. When I told them to be quiet, they acted as if I was insane for asking them to not speak during an opera. Perhaps they do not know what a score looks like, and assumed I was reading a coloring book and stretching to Das Rheingold for my health. They spoke for a good 15-20 minutes of the opera. I don't understand why one would bother going to the opera just to converse. Every time there was an explosion on stage or laughter, the one girl next to me would hop up and try to see what was going on, but by that time she had missed most of the action.
Also, a tip for you, dear readers. If you ever happen to have a pregnant wife (or friend for that matter), please don't drag her to the opera and expect her to stand for 2 hours and 35 minutes in the second row of standing room, with nothing to lean on.