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RODERIC DUNNETT looks back at a
thumping good summer for opera festivals in Britain and Ireland

Part 2 - Longborough, Buxton and Garsington


<< Continued from Part 1

Brünnhilde (Jenny Miller) in the Longborough Festival Opera 2000 production of 'Siegfried'.

High praise, too, for the team staging Siegfried, the third opera of Wagner's Ring Cycle, which was added this summer to the complete emerging Ring at Longborough Festival Opera, near Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire.

Matthew Elton Thomas in the title role of the Longborough Festival Opera 2000 production of 'Siegfried'.

The chief newcomer to Longborough was Matthew Elton-Thomas as the young hero himself, struggling occasionally with the notes and looking oddly yet aptly like one of the vociferous lumberjacks from Britten's Paul Bunyan, but reasonably up to the role in challenging Fafner and the even bigger vocal demands of Act III, where the waking of Brünnhilde (Jenny Miller) was simply yet strongly staged. Fiona Kimm resurfaced as a powerful Fricka in the accompanying Die Walküre, while Brian Bannatyne-Scott's rather stiff Wotan has now relaxed enough to make an attractive, poignant Wanderer. His voice, powerful enough in Rheingold, is beginning to reveal variety too, both in the Siegfried encounters and in the demanding farewell to Brünnhilde which draws Walküre to its melting close. Particularly successful in Siegfried were Laura Smith's back-projections, which yield just enough clues to the plot to make Wagner's German, in Jonathan Dove's compact score reduction, perfectly palatable. Mime's cluttered lair, designed by Jens Cole, was as apt and inventive as Peter Bronder's vivacious singing and acting of the role, with the right measure of pathos to offset Nicholas Folwell's strongly sung, bullying Alberich.

Siegfried (Matthew Elton Thomas) with the dragon. Longborough Festival Opera 2000.


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Copyright © 2 December 2000 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK







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