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Countdown to Siegfried: 1, Liftoff

Our story thus far: Wotan leaves Brünnhilde sleeping in a ring of fire at the end of Francesca Zambello's "Die Walküre." (Karin Cooper for WNO)

"Siegfried" opens tonight at the Washington National Opera, and runs through April 17.

Post your reviews, impressions, comments on the production here. I will gather reviews from other sources as they come in. Mine, of course, will run on Monday.


Edited to add: From The Washington Post: Two-Tenor "Siegfried" Triumphs, by Anne Midgette.

From the Washington Times: "Siegfried" Tricks an Illness.

From A Tale of Two Siegfrieds.

And OperaChic reported that Newt Gingrich Twittered from the theater.

By Anne Midgette  |  May 2, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Washington , opera  
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Next: In Performance: Local Reviews


First, kudos to Scott MacAllister for pinch-hitting in the title role. That had to be daunting, but I don't understand why they did not have a rehearsed understudy who could have gone on stage.

I'll limit my comments to the production. This is supposed to be an "American Ring". Other than Act I, which featured iconic items like a camping trailer, lounge chair, beer and Kingsford briquettes, there wasn't really much "American" about it. Unless the director thinks that pictures of industrial effluence, auto junk yards and stacks of tires are solely an American phenomenon.

And then there was Fafner - a combination of a Lunar Module and Transformer toy - which was a disappointment. There was not much of a battle there, Siegfried just stuck his sword into Fafner's hydraulic lines. This reminded me of the Deutsche Oper's 1989 DC production where Fafner was a missile-tipped front-end loader.

I must comment on the director's program notes, where she compares Siegfried to Barack Obama ("a young optimistic, vigorous outsider of mixed roots..."). The Nazis used Siegfried as a metaphor for Germany, destroyed in WWI by being stabbed in the back by the Jews and others. Directors need to be careful where they tread in this area.

As for the music - I thought overall the singing and musical performance went fine, though at times the orchestra seemed a bit reedy, and at others overpowered the singers (with the exception of Irene Theorin).

Bottom line - its a rare treat for Siegfried to be performed in this city, so we should enjoy the opportunity to see it. Also, we should be thankful that Domingo is not inflicting the LA Opera's theater of the bizarre Ring on us.

Posted by: GRILLADES | May 3, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Is Michael Güttler the son of the Dresden-based trumpeter Ludwig Güttler? Michael is also a Dresden native.

Posted by: cicciofrancolando | May 4, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Just when you thought Newt Gingrich couldn't get any cooler. I didn't see him there, though, I wonder where he was. Isn't Scalia usually at opening nights, too?

Posted by: geddaisgod | May 4, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

And Grillades---don't take Cesca Zambello's commentary seriously. Anyone who needs to compare their characters to anyone currently alive is a buffoon, much less to Obama. The action should speak for itself, but instead she needed to do the "Hey everyone, look here!" thing. She's a nut, always has been, always will be.

Posted by: geddaisgod | May 4, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

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