Wagner's Das Rheingold

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Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Met's Robert LePage production of Wagner's Ring cycle returns for a spring run, beginning, logically, with the tetralogy’s first installment, Das Rheingold.

Mark Delavan is Wotan, ruler of the gods, Wendy Bryn Harmer returns as Freia, the goddess of beauty and youth, Stephanie Blythe again sings Freia's sister Fricka, Wotan's wife, and Eric Owens is Alberich, the king of the Nibelungs. Fabio Luisi, the Met’s principal conductor, is on the podium.

Cast:

Conductor: Fabio Luisi
Freia: Wendy Bryn Harmer
Fricka: Stephanie Blythe
Erda: Meredith Arwady
Loge: Stefan Margita
Mime: Gerhard Siegel
Wotan: Mark Delavan
Alberich: Eric Owens
Fasolt: Franz-Josef Selig
Fafner: Hans-Peter König

Comments [21]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

The troubles that tear asunder the prospect of REAL echt WAGNERIAN PERFORMANCES are the total lack of singers with squillo, ping, ringing "juicy', not dry secco tone delivery,singers WITHOUT thrilling fortissimo acuti, high , notes and WITHOUT melting pianissimi but instead substitute WAGNERIAN BARKING rather than legato full-throated singing with strained and forced and flat singing, undersized and underpowered singing, at the same time WITHOUT impressive carrying power and the final curse the inevitable throaty and/or nasal ugly voice production.

Apr. 30 2013 01:09 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Today's news deals with deficits and declining support for the arts. Tandem to this predicament for the talented is the perception that the current situation will continue for a long time to come. Speaking specifically how this precludes the motivation for young operatic singers who must early on choose their life's work, many have turned to Broadway or the business world. Nowadays Broadway musicals are out for show-stopping sensationalism with laser distractions, monster sets, acrobatic feats and space age technical projections and featuring dancing over singing. So, for the real thing opera singer, Broadway musicals, outside of Phantom of the Opera and an occasional Les Miserables there is little prospect of a sustainable career. The Wagner oeuvre has suffered the most. Husky physiques, witness the iconic John McCormack, do not offer similar size singing voices in power or stamina. Heroic voices like Melchior, Tamagno, Ruffo and the mature Caruso are nowhere on today's world class stages. Instead we suffer to hear miniscule, non-charismatic, non-distinctively memorable singing voices essaying roles far beyond their undersized,underpowered, thin not orotund, singing potentialities lacking sufficient carrying, projection power to be consistently heard over Wagner's or Richard Strauss' orchestrations.

Apr. 29 2013 05:51 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

OLIN DOWNES AND HIS SON CONDUCTOR EDWARD DOWNES, WHO SUCCEEDED HIS DAD WERE BOTH HOST/COMMENTATORS FOR THE MET OPERA BROADCASTS. THEY GENUINELY COULD WITH AUTHORITY EXTEMPORIZE, WITHOUT SCRIPT, ON THE OPERAS AND THEIR COMPOSERS AND THE ERAS IN WHICH THEY WERE COMPOSED. I PERSONALLY KNEW BOTH AND CAN VERIFY THAT THEY WERE GREGARIOUS, LOVED THEIR ASSIGNMENTS, AND WERE WARM PERSONALITIES ON AND OFF MIKE. I have sung four solo concerts at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. One may download, free, my singing "live" 37 out of the nearly 100 selections direct from the stage by going to Recorded Selections; www.WagnerOpera.com, www.ShakespeareOpera.com, www.RichardWagnerMusicDramaInstitute.com, www.kennethbennettlane.com, and www.kennethlane.org.
Roles that are represented in my singing to be heard on my websites are: Tristan, Siegfried, Goetterdaemmerung Siegfried, Lohengrin, Parsifal, Siegmund, Walther von Stolzing, Florestan, Federico, Eleazar. and, in oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus.

Apr. 08 2013 04:23 PM
Peter O'Malley from Oakland, New jersey

I thought Mark Delavan sounded light in his first moments, but later he had "filled out". Not quite George London, but still very good. Too bad about the almost predictable mishap with the overly complex set. Bring back the last production!

As to Ira Siff, etc., getting rid of him would leave us with just Margaret Juntwait, whose stiffness has eased a bit since she started but who will never be Peter Allen. There's no spontaneity, no sense that she really has a command of all this as second nature, as you got with him. Too bad. She probably won't be quitting soon. I agree that we don't need Ira as well.

Apr. 08 2013 11:19 AM
Tracystallard from NYC

Robert Grandt from NYC

After listening to Die Walkure on the radio I can't help but wonder why we need Ira Schiff on the broadcasts? Can't Margaraet Juntwait narrate the opera without any help? His voice is irritating, obnioxious and unpleasant to listen to.
We can also live without his uninteresting, pretentious, pseudo-intellectual, banal and just plain boring commentary on the operas.
I've been listening to the broadcasts since 1960, when the great Milton Cross was the commentator. Ira is undoubtedly the worst announcer I have heard in the past fifty-one years.
There is plenty of great operatic experise out there waiting to be tapped.
We operaphiles deserve better tha Ira Schiff.

Apr. 07 2013 11:45 AM
SteveNYC

Just read on one of the Broadway discussion forums that the machine suffered *another* major malfunction today, jamming between scenes two and three. Many special effects were lost and Owens and Siegel had to improvise their own staging the narrow space in front while stagehands tried to pull the planks into place. More details at parterre.com.

It is already past time to retire this embarrassing production.

Apr. 06 2013 05:34 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane. Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

THE MET HAS AS FINE AN ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS ANY OPERA COMPANY AND IT HAS MADE MEASURABLE IMPROVEMENT OVER THE YEARS. www.kennethlane.org

Apr. 06 2013 05:28 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

DAS RHEINGOLD, today's Met Opera broadcast, revealed the DEARTH of REAL WAGNER SINGING TALENT TODAY! ERIC OWENS as Alberich stole the show as A VOICE ! Mark Delavan as Wotan sang well and handled the acuti, the roles "high" notes, with aplomb and notable beauty of tone. Having heard in performance or on recordings or having studied with FRIEDRICH SCHORR (in all probability the greatest of Wagnerian heldenbaritones, the iconic Wotan, Hans Sachs and Dutchman) and Margarete Matzenauer (Caruso's most often mezzo and contralto co-star and "unica" as an Erda, Fricka, Amneris, Fides, Kundry), I am not that won over by their contemporaries in those roles. As Loge, I have fond recollections of MAX LORENZ, FRITZ WUNDERLICH, SIEGFRIED JERUSALEM. RENE MAISON AND SET SVANHOLM. Loge, the god of fire, should have a "fiery" imposing personality both vocally and histrionically. FABIIO LUISI IS AN "ECHT' WAGNER MAESTRO. He is also TOPS IN HIS OTHER ASSIGNMENTS. I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, an opera composer, the dearth of REAL WAGNER singing talent today"Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare" and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. My websites where one may download, free, my singing of 37 out of the 100 selections that I have sung in four solo concerts at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall by going to Recorded Selections; www.WagnerOpera.com, www.ShakespeareOpera.com and www.RichardWagnerMusicDramaInstitute.com. www.kennethbennettlane.com, wwsw.kennethlane.org
Roles that are represented in my singing to be heard on my websites are: Tristan, Siegfried, Goetterdaemmerung Siegfried, Lohengrin, Parsifal, Siegmund, Walther von Stolzing, Florestan, Federico, Eleazar. and, in oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus.

Apr. 06 2013 04:48 PM
concetta nardone

Boy did I get a fix.

Apr. 06 2013 04:02 PM

CBC Here here. Delavan IS a Wotan. not like last yrs.

Apr. 06 2013 03:52 PM
concetta nardone

What a wonderful Wotam.

Apr. 06 2013 03:38 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

CBC: Yes, I did get your posting about Alberta. She was a fine person.
Could not listen from the beginning, some fine singing. Waiting for Gods to enter Valhal and Loge's snarky's remarks.

Apr. 06 2013 03:25 PM

You were very wise in your analysis. What did people do before telecasts? It was the voice & orchestra - the sets didn't matter at all.

Apr. 06 2013 02:35 PM
Jon Johanning from Philadelphia

I think that I have a very minority position on this or any other production of Wagner (and most operas). Namely, I'm basically interested in the music. I'm not much of a theater person, I suppose, so I really don't care what happens on the stage. I haven't seen the Met production in person (I don't live in NY, and the tickets are too expensive anyway), but I did see the movie theater version last year. It was OK, I guess. The music is the thing, especially with Wagner, and the Met is always splendid in that department, whether under Levine or Luisi.

Apr. 06 2013 02:19 PM

now that's what a Wotan sounds like, not like last yrs.poser. but I'm prejudiced because no one like my absolute favorite Wotan, the monumental, magnificent and incomparable GEORGE LONDON.

Apr. 06 2013 01:42 PM

CBC Did you get a chance to read my last posting last week about Alberta? She was great.

Apr. 06 2013 12:55 PM
MMM

Tenor Richard Cox is singing Froh in these Rheingolds. Not sure why they have not listed him!!

Apr. 06 2013 12:15 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

CBC Hope you are well.
The film Thor, enjoyable and fun, could have used Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla at end of film when Thor throws the hammer. Also, some more of Wagners music could have been used at end of the film The Vikings, Siegfrieds Funeral music.

Apr. 06 2013 09:20 AM

From the WQXR website "Of the 32 reviews submitted, by far the most commentary focused on the Lepage production, with its 45-ton set consisting of 24 moving planks (dubbed "the machine"). Twenty-four readers gave it a negative review, three were mixed in their marks and two were positive (three others didn't comment on it)." 'nuff said.

Apr. 06 2013 08:47 AM

CBC Can't agree with you more. The music is magnificent, the new production yeeech !!! I think somebody is smoking loco weed at the Met. Can't wait for next week when Voigt tries to screech through Brunhilde. Oh well, this too shall pass.

Apr. 06 2013 08:45 AM
concetta nardone

Gorgeous music, awful production. These recent stagings by the Met are terrible. Traviata, all of the Ring. What's happening? Also, Note to Stephanie, Opera is also theatre. I thought you were going to slide down that ramp. Hint, Hint. Trying to be civil. When my cousin saw you as Amneris, she demanded her money back.

Apr. 06 2013 07:50 AM

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