Friday, June 11, 2010
Die Walküre is the best Wagner. It is wonderful almost beyond imagining because it's about relationships: the self-named twins Siegmund and Sieglinde, and the father / daughter pair Wotan and Brünnhilde. Both end tragically.
And Donald Runnicles is the best Wagner conductor. Whatever cracks I may ever have made about him, I was only ever referring to his non-Wagner repertoire. For Wagner he is the best. It's ok to care almost exclusively about the orchestra if you are conducting Wagner.
In the production at the San Francisco Opera, shared with the Washington National Opera, all the characters are American. The places are American, the clothing, the trophy cases, the aviatrixes. It's very important to mention the Valkyries as aviatrixes, with boots and goggles and parachute landings. This is by far the loudest bunch of Valkyries I have ever heard. These women can wail.
It's the most emotional Walküre I've seen. Nina Stemme is a singer with a powerful voice who never forces anything, and who creates a wonderful character for Brünnhilde.
# Brünnhilde: Nina Stemme
# Wotan: Mark Delavan
# Sieglinde: Eva-Maria Westbroek*
# Siegmund: Christopher Ventris
# Fricka: Janina Baechle*
# Hunding: Raymond Aceto
It is an excellent cast. Special mention goes to Eva-Maria Westbroek. Go.
[See Kinderkuchen History 1850-1870]