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<<  -- 4 --  Robert Anderson    THE RING IN CHEMNITZ

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The orchestral playing was of a very high standard, under Oleg Caetani in the first three dramas, and Niksa Bereza for what Bernard Shaw preferred to call the final opera. Tempos were never slower than I expected, and I should have liked the fine Wanderer of John Wegner to have had more time in his teasing condemnation of Mime, and the intricate network of motifs in Brünnhilde's final narration to have made more generous impact. But moments of superb drama were the ever-intensified hush before the first appearance of the 'Rhinegold' motif in the Vorabend and the magisterial power generated in Siegfried's funeral march.

From among the Chemnitz singers there should be special mention of the Valkyries (though their dead warriors reminded me too much of 'foot and mouth' carcases), who sang with thrilling precision and grouped themselves protectingly behind Brünnhilde, cowering beneath her shield.

The Valkyries with Hans-Peter Scheidegger as Wotan (behind) in the Oper Chemnitz 2001 production of 'Die Walküre'. Photo (c) Dieter Wuschanski

The Mime of Jürgen Mutze was utterly convincing, musically and dramatically. Despite being hurled about his dwelling by the vocally commanding but impossibly rumbustious John Treleaven as Siegfried, he continued wheedling and whining with surprising dignity and kept stirring his murderous pot with admirable nonchalance. Donna Morein made an imperious Fricka when worsting Wotan, but kept her finger firmly on the pulse of events by featuring also as Waltraute (in the Valkyrie pack and solo), a Norn and Götterdämmerung Rhinemaiden. The Freia who went off in Fasolt's grab showed similar versatility: graceful on stage and vocally secure, Nancy Gibson became also a Valkyrie, Norn, and finally Gutrune.

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Copyright © 5 May 2001 Robert Anderson, London, UK

 

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