sábado, 13 de octubre de 2018

Video review: Siegfried from Stuttgart Opera, 2002/2003

After watching two great as well as different versions of Parsifal, it was the turn of Siegfried, from Stuttgart Opera. In the past decade, the production of the Ring at Stuttgart  was filmed: four directors, four different aproximations. In this video we see regietheater in all its purity. Indeed, this opera house is well known for its productions in this modern way. This Ring is so controversial that it has supporters and detractors at equal parts.

Directors Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito set the action in contemporary world, maybe in a post-atomic, or post-apocalyptical poor city. However, in spite of this radical change of background, the production is in many cases more faithful to the story than expected: Siegfried forges his sword, has a horn to play for awakening the dragon, Siegfried splits Wanderer's spear, and he kisses Brünnhilde and awakens her, and the duets have a great deal of good drama.

The curtain rises to show a ramshackle kitchen, with Mime peeling potatoes before Siegfried's arrival. Siegfried enters with a fur coat representing the bear and sneakers,jeans and a blue T-shirt saying "Sieg Fried". While they argue for Siegfried's ingratitude, they prepare their meal. The Wanderer appears dressed totally in black. The knowing contest between him and Mime are done by pointing one another with a gun. But there is a sign of nonsense: after having lost the contest and after the Wanderer left the house, Mime masturbates while singing Verfluchtes licht. At least Siegfried forges his sword and when doing so the lights of their home turns on and off.

Act 2 takes place in a dark place during the night.A security fence dominates the staging. Alberich is dressed in black, barefoot and smoking heavily. He confronts Wotan, and tries to awake Fafner, who is talking through a pair of bullhorns. Siegfried awakes him trespassing the fence to discover Fafner is like an alter-ego, by wearing a T-shirt with his name inverted. The bird is a young woman with her face painted in white and with signs of being mentally disturbed.

The first scene of Act 3 is set in an abandoned storage room, where Wotan awakes, talks to an absent Erda. Siegfried enters and the bird hides into an armchair. The final scene takes place in a spacious, simply decorated,  and presumably luxurious white room with a big green bed. Brünnhilde is sleeping sit on a chair and Siegfried awakes her, an in a raw realism, she does it as if it were monday and she didn't want go to job. The duet has good dramatic moments, even a tender one with Brünnhilde combing her hair while singing Ewig war ich, but at the end the lovers appear  pulling a sheet before going to bed.

Lothar Zagrosek does an accomplished conduction with Stuttgart Opera Orchestra, by achieving a spectacular sound. The preludes and interludes were played quite well, proving the command of the score by Mr. Zagrosek.

The cast was in a remarkable and quite professional level. And they are skilled at acting.

Jon Frederic West sings the title role. was a known heldentenor during the 90s and 2000s. His voice seems to resist the challenging music and doesn't sound badly but he endures a bit trouble with high register.

Heinz Göhrig is an excellent Mime, quite convincing and a nice sound. Wolfgang Schöne is the true surprise, with a big and beautiful voice, giving his character an amazing solemnity in Act 1. He has the authority necessary to sing Wotan. Björn Waag is a professional Alberich, good at acting but sometimes lighted at singing, nevertheless he has some decent low register. Attila Jun is a good Fafner, as well as Gabriela Herrera with her tender voice for the Forest Bird. Helene Ramada has an attractive contralto voice as Erda, but low register is smooth. Lisa Gasteen is a nice Brünnhilde, with a  good dramatic voice and good acting, but in few occasions her high notes are a bit troubled.

I expected very little from this production, but I was surprised with his dramaturgy, despite some nonsense. It became a classic in Stuttgart Opera and it was well received in Germany, more than abroad. With this modern Siegfried, I close my first serious video approximation to Richard Wagner operas, which began two months ago with the Lohengrin from the 2018 Bayreuth Festival. But for sure I will keep on exploring in the future as many video productions as I can of the operas by my favorite composer.

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