SF Opera's Götterdämmerung Cycle 1

_37A5168* Notes * 
San Francisco Opera's first Ring cycle this summer came to a glorious end with Götterdämmerung (Act II pictured left, photo by Cory Weaver) this evening. The singing was strong and the playing exquisite.

Maestro Donald Runnicles had the glittering orchestra sounding better than ever. The tempi are exciting without being rushed. The brass was vibrant, and the solo horn player deserved being singled out at the final ovation.

In this opera, soprano Iréne Theorin had fewer harsh notes as Brünnhilde. Her quieter singing in Act III could have had more warmth and vulnerability. Tenor Daniel Brenna somehow makes the unlikable character of Siegfried winsome. He pushed his voice somewhat in Act II as he recounts his history, but was otherwise in fine form, light and pleasing.

Baritone Brian Mulligan is a conflicted Gunther, his voice is very pretty and nuanced. The bottomless depths of Andrea Silvestrelli make him a perfect match for the villain Hagen. His scene with bass-baritone Falk Struckmann (Alberich) showed off both their voices. Soprano Melissa Citro minced around hilariously as Gutrune, fluffing pillows in Act I and growing more dignified as the dark events of the opera unfold.

Jamie Barton is an appealing Waltraute, her sound has a lot of colors to it. She began the performance splendidly as Second Norn, singing beautifully with Ronnita Miller (First Norn) and Sarah Cambidge (Third Norn). The Rhinemaidens Stacey Tappan, Lauren McNeese, and Renée Tatum sang brilliantly.

The set changes were remarkably quiet. The staging holds the attention with physical humor and jumbled projections during the instrumental parts of the music. The little girl planting a sapling at the end of the final scene was unnecessary though.

Tattling * 
The house manager clarified that standees save at most two spots at the rail.

There was a lot of audience attrition during the long first third of the opera, there was some talking also. A latecomer forced to wait in orchestra standing room for this part of the opera had a lot of trouble with her purse, it made a lot of metallic sounds.

An alarm rang incessantly during a soft part near the end of the opera.

Götterdämmerung at the Bayreuther Festpiele

Goetterdaemmerung-2013* Notes * 
The second cycle of the Frank Castorf's new Der Ring des Nibelungen at Bayreuth ended with Götterdämmerung on Monday. The proceedings were somewhat less nonsensical than the Siegfried, at least there were no gunshots interrupting the music. The turning set included döner kabob and produce stands, two different sets of stairs, a neon sign for "Plaste und Elaste Werk in Schokpau," and a classical building wrapped up by a very large sheet, which turns out to be the New York Stock Exchange. With so many different venues, one would think it would be possible to knock out the five scenes in the first third of the piece, yet somehow Castorf proves incompetent, and has to bring down the curtain before the Waltraute's appearance. At least Act I Scene 3 has the sisters singing to one another and acting as human sisters would.

Unfortunately, this does not hold for much of the rest of the staging. A pram filled with potatoes is thrown down a flight of stairs, creating a great deal of noise for no real dramatic reason. The long-suffering supernumerary who has played shopkeeper, bear, and waiter throughout the four operas is punched in the nose early in the Götterdämmerung, appears in a bridal veil and heels in the potato pram scene, and is later run over by the Rheintöchter. The various video clips shown are simply distracting, and after enduring so many hours of this production, I gave up trying to make sense of what was being shown on the screens and stopped looking at them.

Thankfully, Kirill Petrenko conducted a vibrant and buoyant orchestra. Again, the harps sound wonderful, as do the low strings. The principal horn did not sound confident, but the trumpets played remarkably well. The clarity of the orchestra supported the singers and did not overwhelm them. The chorus was also brilliant, the members singing with each other as if they were one being.

Of the three Norns, Christiane Kohl (Third Norn) was weakest, her voice is not adequately supported. Okka von der Damerau was strong as both First Norn and Floßhilde. Claudia Mahnke sounded beautifully legato as both Second Norn and Waltraute. Mirella Hagen (Woglinde) and Julia Rutigliano (Wellgunde) were lovely. Allison Oakes made for a pretty Gutrun and Alejandro Marco-Buhrmester was a fine Gunther. Martin Winkler made for a powerful Alberich. Attila Jun was brash as Hagen. Lance Ryan's Siegfried again was inconsistent. Sometimes he sounded perfectly good, and other times it was as if he were yodeling. Catherine Foster has nice high notes as Brünnhilde, but her lower range is less resonant.

* Tattling * 
The man to my right rolled up the legs of his tuxedo, as it was a bit warm in the house. He fell asleep a few times during Act I. There was some booing at the very end of the ovation, presumably for the production.

Götterdämmerung at the Met (Cycle 2)

Met-goetterdaemmerung-2012* Notes * 
The second Ring cycle the Met this season came to a rather disappointing conclusion with Götterdämmerung yesterday. Though there were many fine individual contributions to the piece, in the end both playing and staging fell short. Robert Lepage's production was not consistent with the earlier parts of the cycle. Why should Grane finally appear as a horse puppet (pictured above, photograph by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera) in this opera, and not in Walküre or Siegfried? Why is it that the projections have Siegfried and Hagen walking on water? It just seemed a bit sloppy. The statues used to portray the Gods looked like they were stolen from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Even still, there were nicely rendered scenes, as with the prologue with its tree-like web.

The orchestra did not seem terribly concerned with Maestro Luisi, the musicians were not always together, and there was rushing, especially near the end. Singers were overwhelmed now and again. The harps did sound gorgeous during Act III. The chorus was cohesive.

Eric Owens had a sore throat, so Richard Paul Fink sang Alberich instead. Fink is secure in the role, and has the right mix of beauty and menace. Hans-Peter König sang a threatening Hagen. Wendy Bryn Harmer sang a pretty Gutrune.

Katarina Dalayman was fairly good as Brünnhilde, though her changes in volume were abrupt. Jay Hunter Morris was a strong Siegfried, sounding youthful and poignant, although he lacked baritonal warmth.

* Tattling *
The French-speakers in Family Circle Standing Room Places 25 and 26 talked a lot in Act I, and had to be hushed. They were preoccupied by taking Seats 202 and 204. It was odd that the male half of the couple seemed so worried about sitting, yet slept through most of Acts II and III. Both halves of this pair had not seemed to have bathed in some time, and their odor could be detected from several feet away.

Casting Change for The Met's Siegfried & Götterdämmerung

Sieg3_1209aJay Hunter Morris (pictured left, photograph by Ken Howard) in the title role of the Metropolitan Opera's Siegfried, on April 21 and 30, 2012, as part of Ring Cycles 1 and 2. Morris will also sing Siegfried in Götterdämmerung for the second RingCycle on May 3, 2012. Lehman has withdrawn due to illness.

The Met's Press Releases | The Met's Official Site

Casting Change for The Met's Götterdämmerung

Jay-hunter-morris-siegfriedJay Hunter Morris (pictured left in the title role of Siegfried at the Metropolitan Opera, photograph by Ken Howard) will replace Gary Lehman as Siegfried in the Metropolitan Opera's new Götterdämmerung, which opens January 27, 2012. Lehman has withdrawn due to a viral infection. Morris himself has withdrawn from performances of Moby Dick at San Diego Opera, and the role of Ahab will be sung by Ben Heppner.

The Met's Press Releases | San Diego Opera's Press Releases

SF Opera's Götterdämmerung Cycle 3

Sfopera-goetterdaemmerung-prologue2 * Notes * 
Der Ring des Nibelungen at San Francisco Opera came to a spectacular conclusion with Götterdämmerung (Prologue pictured left, photo by Cory Weaver) today. The orchestra played beautifully for Maestro Donald Runnicles. There were only two or three sour moments, and even these were fleeting and did not detract from the overall brilliance of the performance. The horn and harp were striking. The music of Siegfried's funeral march was incredibly moving, as was the very end of the opera. The chorus sounded strong and the greeting of Gunther and Brünnhilde was gorgeous.

The principal singers gave performances consistent with their previous ones, only with greater focus and intensity. Stacey Tappan, Lauren McNeese, and Renée Tatum may have looked like they had seen better days as the Rhinemaidens, but they sounded great. They held it together for the wild part of the music that starts with "So weise und stark verwähnt sich der Held." Ronnita Miller, Daveda Karanas, and Heidi Melton were memorable as the Norns, each voice distinctive, but singing together. Daveda Karanas also made the Waltraute/Brünnhilde scene in Act I very human and believable. Andrea Silvestrelli was menancing as Hagen, singing with force and richness. Ian Storey was only overwhelmed a few times as Siegfried, his voice has warmth and was particularly effective in Act III. Nina Stemme was truly a wonder as Brünnhilde, going from strength to strength.

* Tattling * 
Every seat was sold, and even standing room was at capacity. I heard there were altercations in the balcony over places at the rail. It was noted that the person seated in the balcony with the service dog was late today, and her dog was allowed to roam freely around the standing area.

As for the orchestra level, there was the usual talking, laughing, clapping, and electronic noise. People were all too amused by the remote control used in the first scene of Act II.

Heidi Melton Interview

Melton_heidi_2011 Soprano Heidi Melton (pictured left, photograph by Kristin Hoebermann) sings Third Norn in Götterdämmerung and Sieglinde in Cycle Three's Die Walküre this summer at San Francisco Opera. She sings Third Norn in the Met's upcoming Ring cycle next year. The Opera Tattler caught up with Melton at the War Memorial before rehearsal a few weeks ago.

When did you first start singing?
When I was about 15 or 16, I wanted to be a soccer player. I didn't make it into the premier league, and I felt absolutely terrible. I locked myself in the bathroom at home and cried, and my sister, she picked the lock and talked some sense into me. She challenged me to find what was next. I started taking singing lessons, and it clicked right away.

What was your first Ring?
My first Ring was the one at Deutsche Oper Berlin by Götz Friedrich. It is from the 80s and set in the DC subway. I sang Third Norn, Helmwige, and Gutrune. For Gutrune, I didn't know I was singing the role until a week before, so it was pretty surreal. They had told me that I should look at the role, and thankfully I'm slightly OCD, so I did have the part memorized. I had about two days of rehearsal.

How do you like Berlin?
It is amazing, there is so much history.

What do you miss about the States?
Let me be honest, I really miss American Diet Coke. It is my biggest vice!

Welcome back! You spent three years here as an Adler. Is there a role that sticks out for you?
The funniest story is when I sang Diane in Iphigénie en Tauride. I had to sing from the second balcony, and I was standing up before I was to come in, watching Maestro Stewart carefully. An audience member was absolutely incensed that I was standing up, and kept hissing "Sit down, you sit down!" Once I started singing it was all fine, but I had to have an usher escort me for the rest of the performances.

You are singing Sieglinde soon. How do you relate to this character?
I've fallen in love with Sieglinde. I think you have to, in order to really do your job. Sieglinde is such a woman, not a girl. You do have to get past the incest, of course, in order to relate to the character. She has a serious case of arrested development. But I admire her cunning, and I feel this really comes out in Francesca Zambello's direction.

How have rehearsals been?
Great! I have been doing all the rehearsals for Die Walküre before Anja Kampe arrives. It is also Brandon Jovanovich's first Siegmund, so doing this together has been very rewarding. The most challenging scene has been the beginning of Götterdämmerung, though it doesn't look hard. We are on a pile of rubble, with the scrim down. We are wearing goggles and they had been fogging up, so it was difficult to see!

I hear your nickname is "Pippi." Why?
That's right! My mother named me "Heidi" because she just liked the book by Johanna Spyri. Once my colleagues heard of this, I got the nickname "Pippi," from the Pippi Longstocking books, of course.

SF Opera's Götterdämmerung Cycle 2

Sfopera-goetterdaemmerung-act3-final * 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.

SF Opera's Götterdämmerung Cycle 1

Sfopera-goetterdaemmerung-act2-trio * Notes * 
Cycle 1 of Der Ring des Nibelungen at San Francisco Opera concluded with Götterdämmerung (final scene of Act II pictured left, photo by Cory Weaver) yesterday evening. Francesca Zambello's production went more smoothly than at the prima earlier this month. The final scene had more impact, and Brünnhilde's torch did not go out before she lit the funeral pyre. Hagen's exit to dispose of Gunther's corpse in Act III read better from the orchestra level, but it was still unclear why he simply turns upstage and waits motionless whilst Brünnhilde and Gutrune interact just before this. There were a lot of laughs for the beginning of Act II, as Hagen watches television on the lowered scrim. There were also giggles for the Rheinmaidens, they sort recycling at the top of Act III, and this mundane task is apparently very amusing. Perhaps these gags were entertaining, but the audience response interrupted the music.

Jan Hartley's projections could be pretty. The clouds, flames, and birch forest all were attractive enough. At other times, the layered images did not look like anything at all, as it was difficult to pull apart what exactly was being shown. The motion of the projections could be clunky. The set changes were quiet, but the plastic trash bags used at both the beginning and end of Act III were not. Michael Yeargan's sets looked modern and sleek, and Mark McCullough's lighting design showed them to their best advantage. The costumes, by Catherine Zuber, were consistent and pushed the narrative forward. Gutrune's wardrobe was elegant, and the colors were used artfully. Brünnhilde's awkward gown revealed her lack of comfort in the world of the Gibichungs.

The playing under Maestro Donald Runnicles was expressive and vibrant. Though some of the brass was shaky in Act I, the playing improved, and Act III was very moving. The clarinet and bass clarinet were particularly good, as were the strings. The chorus also was wonderful to hear, even though the male chorus was not exactly together in Act III. The Rheintöchter (Stacey Tappan, Lauren McNeese, and Renée Tatum) were charming, but the Norns (Ronnita Miller, Daveda Karanas, and Heidi Melton) were even more impressive. Karanas' scene as Waltraute was vivid both vocally and dramatically. Gordon Hawkins (Alberich) sounded hearty. Melissa Citro (Gutrune) was squeaky, but one had no trouble hearing her.

Gerd Grochowski's diction as Gunther was clear, his voice also has good volume. It was less easy to discern which words Andrea Silvestrelli was singing as Hagen, but his rich, deep voice is seems to have no bottom. Ian Storey (Siegfried) sounded warm but a bit flat in both the Prologue and Act I, and his voice completely gave out in Act II. San Francisco Opera's General Director came out to beg our indulgence before Act III. Storey was treated during the second intermission and agreed to sing up until the end. Nina Stemme (Brünnhilde) also had trouble in the Prologue, screaming her last note. Nonetheless, the rest of the performance went better for her, and the Immolation Scene was otherworldly.

* Tattling * 
The audience in the orchestra spoke a little bit, but there was a lot of electronic noise. A watch alarm beeped 20 times and someone's mobile phone rang. Snoring was also noted.

Zambello was reportedly booed from the balcony.

SF Opera's Götterdämmerung Media Round-Up

Sfopera-goetterdaemmerung-act-3 Production Web Site | SF Opera's Ring Blog

Here we have a photograph from Cory Weaver of the Act III, Scene 3 of San Francisco Opera's Götterdämmerung with Nina Stemme (Brünnhilde), Stacey Tappan (Woglinde), Renee Tatum (Flosshilde), Lauren McNeese (Wellgunde), Melissa Citro (Gutrune), and Ian Storey (Siegfried). Sunday's performance was impressive, and one looks forward to the 3 cycles in the next 3 weeks.

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Götterdämmerung at SF Opera

Goetterdaemmerung-act2 * Notes * 
Today's premiere of Götterdämmerung (Act II pictured left, photo by Cory Weaver) at San Francisco Opera was arresting. Maestro Donald Runnicles had the orchestra sounding vivid and beautiful. There were bad notes and cloudiness here and there in the brass, but nonetheless it hardly mattered. The woodwinds were evocative, the strings shimmering. The balance of orchestra and singers was not always favorable to the latter. For the most part the singing was audible and it was a great pleasure to hear the chorus sing this music.

The cast was strong. The Rheintöchter (Stacey Tappan, Lauren McNeese, and Renée Tatum) sounded pretty and plaintive. The Norns (Ronnita Miller, Daveda Karanas, and Heidi Melton) were well matched yet completely distinct from one another. Karanas also sang Waltraute convincingly, her pleading with Brünnhilde was poignant. Gordon Hawkins was suitably haunting as Alberich. Melissa Citro was a piercing Gutrune, and she channeled hysteria appropriately in the last act. Citro's mincing steps and girlishness read clearly even at the back of the house.

Gerd Grochowski played the consummate Gunther, plainly conveying the cowardice of the character. Andrea Silvestrelli (Hagen) was nearly faultless. He was brilliantly evil, and the texture of his voice worked to his advantage. His rich sound does seem to have an endless depth to it. Ian Storey (Siegfried) has some fine heft and volume to his voice, but he did sound somewhat sour. His control is somewhat imperfect, and he cracked at least one note in Act II. This said, his death scene was captivating. However, the obvious star of the performance was Nina Stemme as Brünnhilde. Her voice is powerful without being strained, her low notes have strength and warmth, and her high notes ring out with clarity.

Francesca Zambello's production ran out of steam by the end. For one thing, the torch Brünnhilde used to set the funeral pyre alight went out before she made it all the way upstage where this to take place. It was also confusing as to why Hagen exited the stage only to return much later to deliver his last line and meet his deserved demise. Zambello did infuse some humor into the early scenes with the Gibichungs, and if nothing else, she engaged the audience. Again, the projections from Jan Hartley seemed stylistically incoherent, and the overlap of images only created more of a muddle. Unfortunately, the noise of the set changes and some of the staging could be distracting. On the other hand, Michael Yeargan's sets looked nice and simple, and the Gibichung Hall was particularly elegant.

* Tattling * 
The audience in the balcony had some restless members. There was some quiet talking, and someone's mobile phone chimed during the first scene with the Norns. Axel Feldheim and SF Mike were silent and attentive.

The orchestra and crew all took their ovation onstage along with the maestri, principal cast, chorus, and supers.

Final Dress of SF Opera's Götterdämmerung

Goetterdaemmerung-prologue * Notes *
The final dress rehearsal of San Francisco Opera's Götterdämmerung (Heidi Melton, Daveda Karanas, and Ronnita Miller pictured left; photo by Cory Weaver) was last Thursday. According to Miss LCU, there was still a great deal of chaos as far as the staging is concerned, but parts were quite strong. Much of the singing was out, and Nina Stemme was particularly brilliant. Ian Storey (Siegfried) seems more robust than Jay Hunter Morris. Hopefully it will all come together tomorrow for the production opening.

* Tattling *
One of the norns mentioned that the Prologue pictured above has been challenging. It had been difficult for them to see, as the goggles had been fogging up and the terrain is not smooth.

Götterdämmerung at LA Opera

LA Opera's Götterdämmerung, Photo by: Monika Rittershaus/LA Opera * Notes * 
The first cycle of LA Opera's Ring Festival concluded with Götterdämmerung last night. James Conlon kept the orchestra at a controlled pace, and the volume was never overwhelming. The brass was not terribly secure, even sounding chaotic at times. The horn calls were respectable, albeit very careful and slow. The chorus sounded lovely and together, even whilst fluttering their hands and doing choreographed stretches. The Norns were ominous, with Jill Grove sounding slightly strained, Michelle DeYoung sweet, and Melissa Citro a tad shrill. The Rheintöchter were enticing: Stacey Tappan (Woglinde), Lauren McNeese (Wellgunde), and Ronnita Nicole Miller (Floßhilde) did well. Jennifer Wilson sang Gutrune with silvery ease, while Michelle DeYoung was a jarring Waltraute.

Richard Paul Fink was sinister as Alberich, ruthless but in the end helpless. Eric Halfvarson (Hagen) sounded merciless, his full, rich voice was still very beautiful. Alan Held was quite loud as Gunther, he sang without strain. Linda Watson remained dignified as Brünnhilde, her upper register can be harsh, but she conveys the emotional content of her text clearly. John Treleaven had a rough, quiet start, improved, but then had some trouble with the end of Act II. He pulled through for his last scene.

Achim Freyer's production was a continual delight, his vision carried through to the very end. Though not focused on the human aspects of the narrative, his ideas are clearly reasoned and fully committed to throughout. I was particularly amused by the enormous red bendy straw shaped into a triangle that was the thread of fate, and by the red balloons that were lowered on wires, then lifted, then popped at the end of Act II. Hagen's very special garage door opener that blinked and flashed in different colors was also highly entertaining. On a more serious note, the staging for when Siegfried takes on Gunther's shape was very effective, and more convincing than any of the others I have seen.

* Tattling * 
The orchestra level was more crowded than during Siegfried or Die Walküre, and the talking was not as loud. The usual watch alarms sounded at each hour. Someone was crinkling a plastic bag during the last two acts. The man in Row M Seat 12 booed loudly at James Conlon, and screamed "Go back to school, read the score." There were also boos for the production team, but these too where mostly drowned out by cheers.

LA Opera's marketing department sponsored a Tweetup Meetup with Jon Caves, Philip Horváth, Cody Melcher, Katherine M. Talley, and various others. We went to the press reception and got to go back stage to meet Maestro Conlon. We also ran into Achim Freyer, and I managed to speak with him a little, even getting out a few words of German. To my great delight, I found some of my favorite opera fans hanging around back stage as well, including Dr. Tamara Sanikidze, currently an Adler Fellow.

Götterdämmerung at the Bayreuther Festspiele

Bayreuther-goetterdaemmerung * Notes * 
The Bayreuther Festspiele's last cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen this season concluded with Götterdämmerung last night. Christian Thielemann kept the orchestra under control, and the sound produced was clear and beautiful. The chorus also sounded absolutely gorgeous. The singing was strong for all the smaller roles. The Rheintöchter sounded lovely and alluring. Christiane Kohl (Woglinde), Ulrike Helzel (Wellgunde), and Simone Schröder (Floßhilde) looked oddly winsome, a bit like something out of an Esther Williams film gone awry. The Norns sang with authority: Simone Schröder, Martina Dike, and Edith Haller all had good presence. Edith Haller also sang the role of Gutrune, and her bell-like sound was a fine contrast to Linda Watson's heartier tones. Christa Mayer gave an impassioned performance as Waltraute.

Andrew Shore (Alberich) was impressive in his last scene, pleading but threatening. Hans-Peter König (Hagen) was much beloved by the audience, perhaps because of his full tone and good volume. Ralf Lukas was a bit quiet as Gunther, but he did not strain terribly either. Linda Watson was a stately and dignified Brünnhilde, her lower register is beautifully warm. Christian Franz lacked subtlety in his performance as Siegfried, he remained clownish and childlike. He did have nice moments, especially in his last scene, but there were times too when his voice sounded like it would simply give out.

The production, from Tankred Dorst, grew ever more overwrought. Although one always appreciates poultry with Wagner, perhaps the man with the rooster-head that flapped his arms was a bit too much. Or the woman placing and removing three pairs of goggles from her face, pretending her palm was a mirror, that could have been unnecessary. Still, one was entertained. On the other hand, the girls making out and the female nudity was more distracting, as was all the running about near the end.

* Tattling * 
There was much talking from the German/American couple in Row 10 on the right side of the Parkett, Seats 17 and 18. They and the American to their left were all rather too large for the seating, and their knees were firmly pressed into the seat backs in front of them. At least the music was grand enough that they were easily ignored.

There was audible laughter when Siegfried does not recognize Brünnhilde and tries to shake her hand.

Götterdämmerung at the Met (Schenk)

Goetterdaemmerung * Notes * 
Saturday's performance of Götterdämmerung ended the second Ring cycle this season at the Met. The orchestra was consistent, immaculate for the most part, though with some sour notes in the brass. The singing was all at a high level. The opening Norn scene was striking, each voice differentiated from another, and each beautiful. Christian Franz (Siegfried), sounded a bit better than in the previous opera. Though strained, he did create a light, pretty sound just before he drank the love potion, and with the Rheintöchter. Katarina Dalayman's Brünnhilde was appealingly warm and human. She struggled less here than in her initial appearance in Die Walküre, and her sound was creamy and rich. John Tomlinson was authoritative as Hagen, though a bit thin in some of his higher notes, but in general his voice had both heft and resonance. The chorus sounded together and very strong.

The set was actually visible for most of the evening, and even the costumes were not entirely grey or brown, so they contrasted with the stage. Again, the choreography consisted of a great deal of pacing, though Brünnhilde did point dramatically and threw things. The set changes were loud, and were clearly audible because the music in between scenes was rather soft. However, the overall effect was good, the kitschiness of the production does not get in the way of the music, and the admirable musical values carry the performance.

* Tattling * 
Many watch alarms were heard, and there was a particularly annoying one during an important rest. One watch alarm rang nearly a dozen times.

There was much aggressive hushing during the first overture, which happened again at the end of the opera, as the audience applauded before the music was done. This is undoubtedly prompted by how the curtain is lowered, several seconds before the orchestra stops playing.