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Wagner's 'Siegfried' -
reviewed by

'... when it is sung as beautifully as here, one is humbly grateful.'

Wagner: Siegfried. © 2005 Opus Arte

To claim this Harry Kupfer version of The Ring as 'among the greatest productions of modern times' is arrant nonsense. What I have mainly picked up from more than a half-century of Wagner in various world opera houses is that his stature as a composer is great enough to withstand the assaults of any producer, however dotty. This is altogether comforting, as absurdities that might have made Wagner tear his hair can be endured with an indulgent smile, in the sure knowledge that the mighty Richard will knock flat most of his misinterpreters as so many nine-pins. What, then, have we here?

Graham Clark as Mime in Act 1 of Wagner's 'Siegfried'. © 2005 Opus Arte
Graham Clark as Mime in Act 1 of Wagner's 'Siegfried'. © 2005 Opus Arte

Above all there is the incomparable Mime of Graham Clark. Let pass the fact that the designer Hans Schavernoch has apparently located him in a factory that could have produced Nothungs by the thousand, thus making senseless his opening remarks about endless toil in front of his toy anvil [watch -- 'Zwangvolle Plage! Müh' ohne Zweck!', DVD1 track 2, 0:00-1:01]. Every gesture of this Mime can be watched with delight, and every flicker of emotion across his expressive face. He clambers over the machinery with the agility of a monkey, hanging at giddy angles to watch Siegfried's latest bit of boorish behaviour.

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Copyright © 6 July 2005 Robert Anderson, London UK


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