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Wagner's twelve-year holiday from The Ring was to our immense advantage in that it produced both Tristan and The Mastersingers. Whether it benefited The Ring itself is more questionable. In this production it has certainly left Andrea Bönig's Erda in an embarrassing tangle. It is as if the Norns have already given up the struggle to sort the skein of fate and thrown the whole thing on to the hapless Erda. But how gloriously the Wanderer tempts her to face another day with all its conundrums [watch -- 'Wache, Wala! Wala! Erwach!', DVD3 track 2, 0:00-1:24]. She is, however, too obviously cabin'd and confin'd to contemplate anything but sleep.

John Treleaven (Siegfried) and Deborah Polaski (Brünnhilde) in Act 3 of Wagner's 'Siegfried'. © 2005 Opus Arte
John Treleaven (Siegfried) and Deborah Polaski (Brünnhilde) in Act 3 of Wagner's 'Siegfried'. © 2005 Opus Arte

The final scene of Act 3, when Siegfried has worsted the Wanderer, and won through the flames to discover that Brünnhilde is not a man, is perhaps the most controversial in The Ring. I am most grateful to conductor and orchestra for letting the actual end bowl along sufficiently briskly to obviate what can be so often mere bombast. Meanwhile the Brünnhilde of Deborah Polaski negotiates with fine dramatic skill the lengthy transition from Valkyriedom to humanity. Wagner was of course self-indulgent to include music that was later to be part of the domestic Siegfried Idyll in honour of Cosima; but when it is sung as beautifully as here, one is humbly grateful [listen -- 'Ewig war ich, ewig bin ich', DVD3 track 14, 0:00-1:06].

Copyright © 6 July 2005 Robert Anderson, London UK


Wagner: Siegfried

OA 0912 D 3xDVD9 16:9 anamorphic NTSC region 0 (worldwide) LPCM Stereo and DTS digital surround NEW RELEASE 256' 2005 Opus Arte

John Treleaven, Siegfried; Graham Clark, Mime; Falk Struckmann, Der Wanderer; Günter von Kannen, Alberich; Eric Halfvarson, Fafner; Andrea Bönig, Erda; Deborah Polaski, Brünnhilde; Cristina Obregón, Der Waldvogel

Harry Kupfer, stage director; Hans Schavernoch, sets; Reinhard Heinrich, costumes; Manfred Voss, lighting; Guerassim Voronkov, assistant musical director; Derek Gimpel, Katharina Lang, Enrico de Feo, assistant stage directors; Beatrix Lorber, assistant set design; Diego Leetz, assistant lighting; Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu; Bertrand de Billy, musical director

Richard Wagner (1813-1883): Siegfried (1876) (Day 2 of 'Der Ring des Nibelungen'), opera in three acts, libretto by the composer. Recorded live at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona. Original production from Deutsche Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin. Extra features: cast gallery; illustrated synopsis



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