<< -- 4 -- Robert Anderson THE RING IN CHEMNITZ
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 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.
Copyright © 5 May 2001
Robert Anderson, London, UK
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