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Dmitry

I'm sorry I missed Act 3! Acts 1 and 2 were very fine; Act 1 much more than that. I've already accepted that Morris is singing Wotan and he was...fine.

My objections at this point are to the production. I'm sick of the damned thing! I first saw it on the Met video and it works marvelously on video. But over the years of seeing it in the house (5 complete cycles, plus multiple stand-alone "Walkures") it just gets on my nerves and more. As Rossini once said about Wagner's music I can say about the production: there are some marvelous moments and really dull quarters of an hour. Frankly, the damn thing is really ugly and dreary gray. It's just slabs of styrofoam rocks standing around. And as the lighting faded over the years, we're stuck staring at very dark gray rocks all night long. As a RING novice I thought Schenk's approach was ideal, but as the years wore on I've concluded that Schenk's approach is just plain lazy and lacks imagination. If anyone deserves any credit for the sets surely it's the designer Gunther Schneider-Siemsen! Considering that the production parrots Wagner's libretto line-for-line I wonder how many hours Schenk spent thinking about what to do? And I wonder that Schenk is doing back in town to supervise this revival - I saw no extraordinary staging last night. A few things were just plain dumb. At one point in Act 2 Siegmund puts Notung down on a rock on stage right and walks around. What warrior would leave his weapon - while he's being pursued by enemies? Ridiculous. Schenk is obviously milking this thing for all its worth. He came out for a bow at the end of "Rheingold" also. He just won't go away!

I think the only truly great touch in this production is the Magic Fire Music at the end of "Walkure," which I missed last night, helas. But I'll be seeing a full cycle later on. And I must say: good riddance, Mr. Schenk's rocks!

Philip

The main problem with the production is that the lighting has gone awry - as in so many Met productions. Often it's like there are only two lighting cues available: on and off.

It has seemed to me that with each revival WALKURE has looked increasingly drab.

George R. Weinhouse MD

I go to the opera for great singing. The stagings at the Met have been very variable over the years, unfortunately. I disagree with Dmitry; I think the production is quite beautiful and faithful to Wagner's intention: it is only a story and should be treated as such. The music and the voices should override the concept all the time. The previous RING was also by Schneider-Siemmson but had a different concept, albeit a ver valid one and was closer to what they were doing at Bayreuth at the time. Any reservations with that concept were dwarfed by the presence of Birgit Nilsson . I do think the current RING could do with better costumes, But the scenery,rocks and all, I believe, is fine.

lingin

This will be the fifth time I am seeing this production. It was my first-ever visit to the Met and ignited my passion for opera. I will sentimentally miss this staging but I am looking forward to the Lepage production.

At this point the diminished state of James Morris' vocal resources don't bother me. His characterization is so rich and full of feeling that it compensates. (Although I wish someone had told him that it wasn't a good idea to sing King Philip's aria at the celebration gala). However, I will always regret that I had never had the chance to hear Sir John's Wotan at the Met.

Philip - I had to laugh at your lighting comment. I swear each iteration of this production has had dimmer lighting and I've thought that it was to disguise how old and shabby the sets were getting. I was wondering whether, in this go-round, the cast would follow Birgit Nilsson's lead and wear miners' helmets!

Philip

George, I have always liked the production though I can see Dmitry's point and I do believe it gets less 'magical' with each viewing, again due in my view to the deteriorating lighting. I guess I am ready for a new RING although I am not sure I am ready for the one the Met is planning. We'll see.

Today I chanced to see part of a staging rehearsal of Act II SIEGFRIED and I must say the set looked striking and was atmospherically lit.

I guess one aspect of the Met's traditional staging is that different singers can step into the roles and not require detailed drilling in acting, which will be more time-consuming in a more 'interpretive' version.

A little bird told me that the current sets may be saved and stored and eventually brought back to the stage.

Linda, I loved that story about Nilsson with her mining helmet! I saw the 'Karajan' setting a couple of times and really liked it...I even saw it with Nilsson as Sieglinde, but she was having a bad night.

Yes, we should have had Tomlinson's Wotans at the Met; and in view of his stupendous Fafner and Hunding in the operas so far this year, it's to be doubly regretted. We also only had Robert Hale in the full Cycle once, and Titus and Held should have been heard here. Morris has had a tenacious grip on the role for 20 years...but he's still doing surprisingly well with it.

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