Saturday, April 23, 2011

Valkyrie notes

Die Walküre - Metropolitan Opera, 4/22/2011
Voigt, Terfel, Westbroek/Wray, Kaufmann, König, Blythe / Levine

Let me do this very quickly, since I'd seriously rather think about tonight's Trovatore.

Voigt: Voice still coherent and effective in the middle and bottom, where the meat of this role sits. Plays young well. The whole thing really worked (surprisingly), probably the best of the big sings on the night. Other Ring operas sit higher, where the less happy sound can happen, but who cares for this run?
Terfel: Has the sound, gets the role, overacts at times, not on the same plane as Morris last time but who is? He wastes vocal force at times but he's got it to spare. Looking forward to hearing him develop in this.
Kaufmann: Great high notes, excellent moral force in the Act II "Todesverkündigung", low notes not much, could improve legato and phrasing through Act I.
Westbroek: Sick, no comment since I haven't heard her live before. Wray: Nice fill-in, without the problems on top she's occasionally had.
König: Looks like Santa Claus, and the costuming unfortunately accentuates this. How menacing can Santa Claus really be?
Blythe: Sonically awesome, as always. Nice ram chair she slides in on too.

Levine: Always delivers in the last act. Great to see him make it on stage for curtain call.
Lepage: The overall conventionality of the show is getting humorous. Not enough eye-catching electronic detail (the Act III midair ride -- a good basic idea -- could have used some color sprucing it up), but the use of the long panels as individual trees in a forest for the Siegmund scenes was nice. Nice fire at the end, spoiled by totally unnecessary blinding yellow lights straight into audience eyes.

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Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.