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Ghost boaster

Can a day pass without the New York Times‘ 24/7 coverage of the Met’s Ring getting on yet another of La Cieca’s nerves? Apparently not. The quote du jour (from Susan Froemke‘s film about the Robert Lepage process) is after the jump, with La Cieca’s bitching to follow.  

“When you look at this,” Georges Nicholson, identified as a Wagner historian, said, watching an early stage of the machine’s construction, “you feel like this is finally the ‘Ring’ that Wagner would have wanted all along.”

“We are actually having the vision that Wagner had when he was composing,” Mr. Nicholson added.

Let’s unpack, shall we? First off all, M. Nicholson should be congratulated on his successful completion of a difficult double major, Wagner Studies and Necromancy. I mean, it’s one thing to be an expert on the composer, but what’s really impressive here is that the “historian” can communicate with the dead. (At the next séance, Georges, don’t forget to quiz the Meister on how he feels about exploding statue heads. We’re all eager to get his take on that.)

The second point here is that, at least as presented in the mini-review by James Oestreich, Nicholson“identified as a Wagner historian,” remember?could be taken for a disinterested observer; in other words, “here’s what the expert has to say.” In fact, Nicholson is on the payroll of either Ex Machina or the Met (he’s credited as “Musical Consultant” on the program for Götterdämmerung) and therefore essentially selling a product he helped to develop. One might as well ask Don Draper for his unbiased opinion on Cool Whip.

But it’s the Appeal to Dead and Buried Authority that makes me want to scream.

85 comments

  • Gualtier M says:

    I was at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere. The documentary is mildly interesting. The arc that has been imposed is one of a massive undertaking facing setbacks and disappointments but ending in success. Deborah Voigt falling off the machine (and Gelb insisting that the blocking not be changed) is addressed. However, Voigt did mention that she did get her way in the end. This season in Act II of “Die Walkure” she enters from the top of the machine platform instead of climbing up from below.

    Voigt is presented as game and plucky if occasionally harried. We aren’t presented with the breakdowns though we do hear her sounding like crap in rehearsals with that hollowed out, “nagging aunt” sound. In the Q&A after the screening Voigt mentioned that she was glad that certain backstage moments were not presented in the film. Also a woman questioned Voigt if she felt that Wagner was presenting a feminist perspective in the Ring. Having seen various cycles, I have also gotten this impression since it is Brunnhilde who saves the world and resists the Ring where Wotan, Alberich, Hagen, Siegmund and Siegfried have failed. In fact all the men in the Ring are either tragic fuck-ups or pond scum. Even Fricka has genuine, reasonable and well-argued points in Act II of Walkure. Erda is a font of wisdom. Sieglinde is way better than all the men who surround her. I sympathize with Siegmund but he is a doomed man who doesn’t stand a chance. It is the women, not the men who have the vision to save the world from the mess that men put it in.

    Anyway, Voigt seemed not to have thought very deeply about this or considered it in any profound way. She said basically “Well yeah, I guess you could see it that way”. Which is another difference between her and a searching, intellectual probing artist like Behrens, Varnay, Modl or Jones.

    Anyway, all the commentary in the film seem to have been carefully chosen to mention the controversy but not include any really damning criticism. Headlines of bad reviews are shown to illustrate the technical problems that plagued the premieres of Rheingold and Walkure but no damning quotes are presented. Siegfried and Goetterdaemmerung are presented as smooth-sailing successes. Later accidents like the fallen Valkyrie in the later Walkure performance or the Machine breakdowns in the Walkure HD or the second performance of Siegfried (killing the final scene transformation) are omitted.

    Also, Jay Hunter Morris and Voigt are given extensive screen time. Bryn Terfel is not interviewed and is just seen backstage before his entrance looking for a bent nail for good luck (taking a cue from Pavarotti). Blythe is seen but not heard. Ditto Eric Owens. Jonas Kaufmann is not seen at all. Neither is Eva-Maria Westbroek. Konig is seen in Rheingold Fafner guise complaining that the machine moved and if he loses a foot the Met will have trouble finding another Wagner bass to replace him (Ze plank mooft!).

    Anyway, the message is that after all the trouble, the machine worked and the Ring was completed. On another note, Lepage was out of town for the Tribeca premiere getting his genius award in Boston or wherever. Gelb was at the premiere and did partipate in the Q&A. He himself was not exactly beaming with pride or blowing his own horn about his project. He seemed rather tired of the whole thing and just going through the necessary motions and saying the expected things. A big moment came when an audience member compared the Mets trials with the problems Julie Taymor went through in “Spiderman”. A woman stood up in the audience and said “Excuse me but I am Julie Taymor”. Taymor then denied that Spiderman cost 75 million (just a measly 35 mil) and praised Gelb for giving directors full rein. Met subscribers might wish otherwise. She then said she loved the film though she suffered with Lepage and all the performers and crew since she has experience the same trials and tribulations.

    • Bosah says:

      As quoted in other blogs directly following the premier, that wasn’t Voigt’s answer re feminism. In fact, she was said to have very strongly suggested, “Oh yes, Brunnhilde is a feminist.”

      • Bosah says:

        Check that. A friend just told me that, when asked the question, Voigt said, “Um, gee, I guess you could say that!” and then laughed before saying that “yes, Brunnhilde is a feminist.” As in, “Well, duh.”

        My friend said she and many in the audience found the comment funny, as I assume it was supposed to be. But, to get the joke, it does require a small sense of humor and a willingness not to automatically think the worst of someone.

        I did appreciate the rest of the information on the documentary in the post, however.

    • irontongue says:

      Ahahaha, why didn’t someone ask Julie Taymore how many lawsuits she thought The Machine might be involved in?

    • Mrs Rance says:

      “Das Ewig-Weibliche
      Zieht uns hinan.”

    • operaguy says:

      Interesting. Isn’t Taymor the only living director to actually have a success with a production created at the Met (imports don’t count) during the Gelb reign.

  • rysanekfreak says:

    In addition to the already-requested clairvoyant answers, I would like the seer to ask the following:

    1. What does Puccini think of the various Turandot endings now available?

    2. What does Verdi think of chopping cabalettas in half?

    3. What does Pasta think of Callas’s Norma?

    4. And please ask Truman Capote where he hid the complete manuscript of Answered Prayers.

    thank you

    • operaguy says:

      Maestro Puccini told me: “Ha! Now the idiots can understand why I never finished it!”

  • marshiemarkII says:

    But the point is, caro Bosah, not that Brunnhilde “is a feminist” but rather that Wagner set her out as a feminist exemplar, for all the brilliant reasons Gualtier explained, namely the men are all tragic fuck-ups or worse. It’s not as if Brunnhilde shoves the men out of the way to do the great deed at the end, but it is Wagner who bestows upon her the great duty, because none of the men are worthy, quite the contrary, they are the ones who created the mess in the first place. So if Debbie Joy had really thought about in any kind of intellectual way, she could have come up with something along the lines of my explanation above (for example), but her shrug “oh yeah, maybe.., whatever…” shows she hasn’t really given any great thought to the matter, as Gualtier correctly points out.

    • marshiemarkII says:

      To amplify just a bit, this is one opera[s] in which it is not so important how good your trill is, but rather, beyond having the right voice, you need to THINK about what you are singing. This is the GREATEST MASTERPIECE ever created about the human (and divine :-) ) condition. One of the most visceral and transcendent explanations of who and what we are. It takes voice AND brains to do it correctly. Nice is not enough

      • Nerva Nelli says:

        “This is the GREATEST MASTERPIECE ever created about the human (and divine :-) ) condition”

        Oh, PLEASE!!!!!

        HAMLET?

        THE ILIAD?

        THE BHAGAVAD GITA?

        etc etc etc

        The RING is a great work, but let’s keep fairy tales and Romantic Melodrama in perspective. Plus, there are not even all that man “humans” among the major actants.

        • Camille says:

          Dante Alighieri’s “LA COMMEDIA”, is the one I vote for.

          • ianw2 says:

            As a work of total art?

            Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES.

          • brooklynpunk says:

            I actually nominate “Carrie” ( the book-- but even more-- the MOVIE-!-- and I’m NOT referring to “Sister Carrie..).. as having much more to do with the “human condition”, and the “supernatural”
            (Haven’t we ALL been “Carrie” at one point, or another..?--ROTFLMAO!)

        • marshiemarkII says:

          “Plus, there are not even all that man “humans” among the major actants.”
          This has to be the blooper of the month at parterre, no! the year! the example in excelsis of “linear thinking” if there ever was one! So since the Ring is a “fairytale melodrama” and mostly about “Gods” it says nothing about the human condition? bwahahahahaha bwahahahahaha bwahahahahaha res ipsa loquitur Nerva. Now you have passed the final exam in the school of the intellectually disadvantaged (junk food apparently does have an effect on brain function after all).

          Look, you don’t have to think The Ring is the greatest masterpiece to make a statement of that scale in stupidity! And yet you feel entitled to opine on all and sundry? I am done with you, further responding to you would be an act of self-debasement from here-on-with, so go on now with your autistic “middle voice middle voice middle voice………” this is so Artoisian!

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            Getting an unleashed response from some quarters is as easy as playing a piano key.

            Get back to that Goebbels biography you’re writing, Marshie!

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            Getting an unleashed response from some quarters is as easy as playing a piano key.

            The RING is *ssssssooo* profound; yes, and upper middle brow German culture thought the same of Franz Werfel!

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            BTW, I never eat junk food.

        • Noel Dahling says:

          As if Hamlet isn’t “romantic melodrama” as well,cashing in on the (already waning at the time of its premiere) Elizabethan vogue for “revenge tragedy.”

        • Noel Dahling says:

          Nerva, why don’t you mention a “masterpiece” that you’ve actually seen/read? Like WEEKEND AT BERNIES or THE DAVINCI CODE. I can’t believe anyone as spiteful as you has been exposed to the Great Works you reference above, because great works of art usually enlighten, making those who are exposed to them better people. Based on your c*nty comments about Goebells and Mengele, I doubt you are such a person.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Noel, if I had one hundredth of your brilliance and eloquence I’d be a multimillionaire!
            God how we miss you around here. I really really hope you stay around this time!
            Many kisses to you

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            Um, No One’s Dahling--

            Your considered choice of semi-self-bleeped adjective hints at the delicacy with which Arnoldian High Culture has imbued you; and your failure to understand the difference between “Romantic” and “romantic” in referring to works of art (I’ve taught some of those I mentioned at the university level) speaks to your level of intellectual sophistication.

            But thanks for providing the excitable Marsh Thing with a model of “brilliance and eloquence”.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Someone with thinks that The Ring is a romantic fairy tale about “Gods” and “Dwarfs” should talk about intellectual sophistication! This is the howler of the week. The words Intellectual and Nerva are the dictionary definition of OXYMORON.

            Now if you look in the dictionary the word autism…..

          • marshiemarkII says:

            And could you enlighten us in what department were those brilliant lectures delivered? the department of Obesity Studies at the university for mentally disadvantaged children in the Southwestern Polynesian Islands?

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            marshiemarkII promised the hopeful world:

            “I am done with you, further responding to you would be an act of self-debasement from here-on…”

            *Indeed*!

            Yet marshiemarkII just now let fly:

            “Someone with thinks that The Ring is a romantic fairy tale about “Gods” and “Dwarfs” should talk about intellectual sophistication! ”

            Well, of course on one level it is precisely that; but not all of us are capable of perceiving things (art works, performers, performances) as being multi-layered and internally variable. (Not perforce “THE GREATEST EVER”, as of Behrens, or “HORRIBLE”, as of virtually any American soprano singing her erstwhile repertory in Europe.) That takes a certain level of aesthetic and intellectual distance and judgment.

            Ta!

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            “And could you enlighten us in what department were those brilliant lectures delivered? the department of Obesity Studies at the university for mentally disadvantaged children in the Southwestern Polynesian Islands?”

            More valuable evidence for No One’s Dahling’s assertion in re the enlightening power of [sic] Great Works!

    • Bosah says:

      Yes, of course it’s far more complicated. That’s another one of those “well, duh” moments. Brunnhilde is placed in a position of power be default in GD, although she tries to take the power in DW. (again, simplifying since she does need to make a decision about the ring itself, which of course lead to a question of why she makes the decision, and on and on.)

      But, it is a great leap to suggest that, because Voigt didn’t spend five hours reciting a dissertation on this one point, at a timed roundtable with others, that she hasn’t thought about it. If you have some evidence to suggest this point, fine. But, coming to this conclusion from one question at an event that appears to have been designed quite superficially, is dangerous.

      I can’t say that she’s deeply thought about it, but neither can anyone say she hasn’t. One day perhaps there will be an interview when this is discussed, but given the current state of the press, I doubt it.

      It is certainly my favorite theme running through the piece, and why I adore (and am also frustrated by) Brunnhilde. I wish it had been discussed more deeply.

      • Bosah says:

        *by default* and “which, of course, leads to a question*

      • operaassport says:

        Nice to hear from Voigt’s publicist. It’s obvious from her many bland, pointless portrayals over the years that’s she’s not a deep thinker. As Rysanek said after working with her “she’s hopeless.” I doubt she’s had a single deep thought about anything her whole life.

        • Bosah says:

          One doesn’t need to be a publicist to appreciate a singer, but thank you for your comment. I hope you’ve noticed that I try to give ALL singers here the benefit of the doubt, even those whom I don’t enjoy as much (i.e. Netrebko and her cancelling). It is, after all, the kind thing to do.

          • Krunoslav says:

            Leonie’s actual New York debut was a March 26, 1958 Little Orchestra Society concert MACBETH at Carnegie with William Chapman, NYCO/B’way baritone (he later replaced John Cullum in SHENANDOAH), Donald Gramm and John McCollum under Thomas Scherman. They did a Brooklyn College show as well.

            This was all before I was born, but my parents were there at Carnegie--as was someone with a tape recorder, though I have never heard the pirate.

          • brooklynpunk says:

            Maria Callas performed at C.W. Post College, on Long Island, in 1974

            Definately NOT at my alma mater, Brooklyn College, (where I had just started working , part -time at the Whitman Theatre, on campus, during my second year at the school--Brooklyn College was the Theater-School jewel in the C.U.N.Y. crown, in those days….!)

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Wow BP thanks!
            now you have finally shown this gurl for the oldie she is becoming :-) :-) :-)

        • irontongue says:

          When did rysanek say that Voigt’s hopeless? (curiosity, not a challenge! I want to read more.)

          • marshiemarkII says:

            irontongue, this is the story that I know, during the rehearsals of Elektra in 1992 Rysanek and Behrens were both very protective and encouraging of the 32 year-old debutante, etc, but Rysanek was also very blunt and told her right to her face, “you are TOO FAT, if you want to succeed in this business, etc, you have to lose weight” and told stories about how she also had been slightly zaftig at some point and had had to lose the weight for a given production and so on. She also added that only when you lose the weight you will be free enough to be able to act which is just as important as the singing. When they got together again 1994 for the same opera, Debbie Joy was still exactly the same, and then Leonie uttered the “she is hopeless”, clearly referring to the weight, and not to her intellectual capabilities as far as I know.

          • irontongue says:

            Ah, thank you, though I must say, I consider that complete and total bullshit reasoning on Rysanek’s part. I would have said so before Voigt had the surgery, and gosh, has her acting improved one bit since then?

            I saw Rysanek only once, so long ago that I remember almost nothing about it, but I have and love many of her recordings, on which I can’t tell how much she weighed!

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Yes irontongue, I’d tend to agree with you about beloved Leonie’s reasoning, after all “Que natura non da Salamanca non lo presta”

            In case you are interested, Leonie had been in the 60s and 70s what you’d call “plump” but by the time she came back to the Met in 1987 for her last Sieglindes, she was thin as a waif weighing no more than 90 lbs and looking chic and elegant as a fashion model, in her Finnish-designed overcoat, in large colored silk squares that made her look like a Mondrian painting. Hildegard much coveted that gorgeous number! Leonie stayed like that till the end, always the paragon of chic and exquisite elegance, never more than the night of the Austrian Embassy dinner in Buenos Aires (in honor of Hildegard’s and Leonie’s debuts at the Teatro Colon) when I had the huge fortune to be her dinner table companion.

          • La Cieca says:

            irontongue, I think the logic holds. There’s an assumed “if” in Rysanek’s first statement, i.e., “if you have it in you to be a great actor, that quality is going to be severely hampered by your being grossly overweight.” It may be that, as is typical with singers, it was hard for Rysanek to imagine that Voigt was so different from her as an artist: I mean, we’re all dramatic sopranos here, right? So Rysanek assumes that everyone has it in them to be the kind of stage animal she is, or at least that’s her wishful thinking.

            The accounts I’ve heard indicate that Rysanek, like a lot of her contemporaries, had to work hard to control her weight through most of her career; that is, like Joan Sutherland and Beverly Sills and quite a few others, she was either on a diet or else nagging herself she needed to get back on one for several decades. (You can see this quite clearly in the documentary about the Elektra film: Rysanek is plumpish when she records the soundtrack and significantly slimmer for the filming.)

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            “Leonie stayed like that till the end, always the paragon of chic and exquisite elegance, never more than the night of the Austrian Embassy dinner in Buenos Aires (in honor of Hildegard’s and Leonie’s debuts at the Teatro Colon) when I had the huge fortune to be her dinner table companion.”

            Was Dr. Mengele’s family present?

            Cieca, is it possible that the late Diana Mitford Mosley-or her social secretary--is posting on PB?

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Cieccccissssima as always SPOT ON!

          • Clita del Toro says:

            I remember seeing Rysanek before her Met debut in “Maria’s” Macbeth. She sang a concert version of Macbeth somewhere in NYC, Brooklyn??? Anyone here that remembers? Anyvay, she was kinda plumpish -> not exactly fat, but diva-sih looking a la Milavov. She was riveting at her debut and I became an instant fan. Even liked her in some other Verdi (Aida, Desdemona) and as Tosca, when she wasn’t in her 12- Tone mood.

          • Camille says:

            Well, Clita, my husband says it was Brooklyn College, his parents went there, and were lucky enough to see many great singers there, back in the day.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Cammiestalita, thanks. I was beginning to think I was Joan in Possessed (1947)--going mad and walking in the streets without direction.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Camilllissssima and Clitissssima my two favorite gurls, didn’t La Divina herself also graced the hallowed walls of Brooklyn College in 1974?

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Sorry Marshie dearest, I was not living in NYC at that time, so don’t know. I saw Maria in Portland, OR and San Francisco.

          • Gualtier M says:

            No Clita, you are Joan Crawford in the earlier 1931 “Possessed” where she is a poor girl from the wrong side of the tracks who hooks up with Clark Gable so she can live in a swanky Art Deco apartment and wear Adrian gowns.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Gualtier LOL Thank You.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            So erudite gurls, was La Maria at Brooklyn College in 1974 or not?
            I am thinking now that I might be confusing CW Post with Brooklyn College?
            Like I confused above the poor Compte D’Artois with Antonin ArtAUD which is what I meant, this gurl is getting old fast here :-)

        • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

          Were do you have this information that Leonie called Voigt “hopeless”? I have the recording of Leonie’s real NY debut. She was not as thrilling as she was at the MET staged Macbeths, but I never knew there was a recording of the second concert performance, which would be wonderful to have.

  • marshiemarkII says:

    I am very confused about what you try to say about Walkure (thee may even be a NOT missing?) but in general I disagree that Brunnhilde tries to “take power” in DW. The ring doesn’t appear at all in Walkure except very implicitly (when Wotan mentions it in the Narrative), and Brunnhilde does not save Siegmund because she wants to secure the Ring, and hence save the Gods, but rather because, as Leonore in Fidelio, she sees saving Siegmund is RIGHTER than what dad has just ordered, through a reversal of his own will. She is his will, so she represents the conflict between the “good” Wotan (feminine) and the “bad” Wotan (masculine). This is an extraordinarily feminist view of the world, especially for 1960s Germany (or Europe for that matter) and shows how fantastically developed intellectually Wagner was in understanding the human psyche. So it is Wagner the feminist here. Not Brunnhilde who is just a good girl, then a very bad girl, and then becomes a transcendent ewig weibliche savior of the world (by Wagner’s design). Brunnhilde herself is never a feminist in the 21C model of a woman taking power in her hands through her own actions.

    • marshiemarkII says:

      especially for 1*8*60s Germany duh!!!!
      Maybe I am imagining Wagner seancing into the 20thC :-)

    • Bosah says:

      Sorry for the confusion in the parenthesis of my comment… I meant that Brunnhilde makes a decision about the ring in GD, of course.

      I disagree that Brunnhilde wasn’t trying to take power in DW -- yes, she was doing what she believed was RIGHT, but in doing so, she took the decision into her own hands (or tried to). She tried to take power over Siegmund’s death, essentially. It was the right thing, but also the powerful thing. I don’t view power as only related to possessing the ring in Brunnhilde’s case.

      That is the only point in the cycle where she makes such a clear decision. Refusing to give the ring to her father in GD is another decision that might have been intended to be powerful, but I don’t think stems from a place of power at all. It does show more of her goodness and purity, but also selfishness, of course.

      Returning to the point, I can’t see how Voigt was expected to expound on all of this at that roundtable, but it would be interesting to hear her do so.

      • marshiemarkII says:

        Maybe she tried to take “power” over Siegmund, as you say, but this time she lost out in the power struggle then, because Daddy really knows what to do with her and TO her :-) i.e. deprives her of her divinity, not terribly powerful, right?

        But at the end, because Wagner has endowed her with the greatest qualities, as Leonore (ich folge dem innern Triebe), is that she is the only one worthy of carrying out the ultimate deed. Then she becomes ALL powerful.

        Maybe before the next round-table you should prep her. You surely have thought about it quite a bit more than any signals she may have given, over several interviews :-)

        • Bosah says:

          Well, I did say she *tried* to take power in DW. ;)

          Yes, I agree with you re the end, of course. It has always bothered me that she was *given* that power, though, despite the fact that her qualities earned it for her. Ah, well…. that’s why I love the character so much. :)

          • thirdlady says:

            Sort of on topic, but sorry if it isn’t…I’m just curious as to what the consensus might be from anyone who is also attending this final “Ring” cycle? Just back from Walküre and thought that Stuart Skelton made a powerful Siegmund. Otherwise, no surprises, other than a particularly startling cracking sound when the set did its thing at the end. I duly made “lemon-sucking-face,” of course!

            I know this has all been hashed over endlessly, but I found that seeing these productions for the second time made the mechanics of the staging even more annoying: especially how the human figures on stage are forced into narrow planes by the set rather than being able to inhabit the space in a natural way. And how the entrances and exits seem to be dictated by those planes, especially at the front of the stage. And how, when the planks are deployed vertically, everyone has to clamber through a ditch in the middle of the stage to move back to front, and be cut off at the knees when at the back.

            And, to digress completely, what on earth is up with the trumpet section the past few days? I thought they were sounding a bit “impressionistic” in the Britten, but tonight they were positively abstract…

          • Bosah says:

            Listened on the livestream, and thought Skelton was top notch. Big, full, ringing voice with only a few spots of borderline fatigue. Have no idea about his characterization, of course. Also, Blythe sounded on fire -- much more so than the last DW. Her voice was echoing on the stream (a rarity), and absolutely no issues with any high notes. She was more exciting vocally than I’ve ever heard her in that scene.

            Did Blythe seem particularly strong tonight in the house? (I know she’s always strong, but this was another level, it seemed)

          • thirdlady says:

            Sorry, Bosah, for some reason I can’t reply to you below, so doing it here…Yes, I do think Blythe was particularly powerful tonight (I agree that she always is strong). Her second-act scene (even given the constraints of her Ming the Merciless chair!) with Terfel was electrifying. And she got a particularly enthusiastic ovation as well…

  • ianw2 says:

    And Alex Ross returns with a swinging left hook!

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2012/05/the-met-ring-cycle-critics.html

    (BOTH of my secret husbands on Parterre on the same morning! I am going to go lie down)

  • Harry says:

    Has anyone ever thought- without all this applied deconstructing 1860′s- 2012 feminist nonsense -- that Brunnhilde’s final actiions are like one of those old Indian cult funeral rituals blended with a dash of the Vikings? Where, the widow used to submissively burn as well on their dead husband’s burning pyre.

  • Henry Holland says:

    From the link:

    The remark leaves the impression—right or wrong, I cannot say—of a guy who simply doesn’t like opera very much

    If true, that’ll be such a plus for when he does Saint François d’Assise, won’t it?

  • Ilka Saro says:

    Er… and speaking of the Ring, I just saw Walkuere last night. Wow. Stuart Skelton delivered a rock-solid Siegmund. In fact, the cast was remarkably solid. Voigt is still having troubles, but they weren’t as conspicuous as they were last season. Ditto Terfel, his voice is much clear, much more ring to it (no pun intended) than last season. Blythe was terrific. Westbroek was terrific. It was quite an evening.

  • mj says:

    I listened to the first two acts last night. Skelton was just wonderful on the radio! Elegant singing, yet powerful. Want to hear more from him. Luisi and the orchestra not at their best (in my opinion). Listening to Voigt made me LONG desperately for Nina Stemme. So I had to turn it off.

    • thirdlady says:

      https://twitter.com/#!/Bryn_Terfel/status/199900727856988161

      Actually, I thought he was bounding around on it like a gazelle (or, you know, a sort of teutonic, flawed-god-like gazelle), even though the planks looked as though they were shuddering disconcertingly beneath him…it was quite impressive!

      • Liz.S says:

        “Kept on slippinandaslidin and tripping! Wotan needs that solid good foothold” -- ?!!
        Ah la machine…

        He’s so nice about it -- and he was like a gazelle despite? It’s so good to know -- thank you, thirdlady!

        • Ilka Saro says:

          I wonder if the singers get hazard pay for performing on that machine. I think it is a brave Valkyrie who will slide down those panels.

  • traviata136 says:

    We thought Skelton was wonderful. He and Westbroek had great chemistry and their scenes were touching. I too longed for Stemme. What’s with the trumpets?