Tuesday, June 19, 2018

O heilige Götter!

Closing scene of Die Walküre
Greer Grimsley (Wotan), Iréne Theorin (Brünnhilde)
Photo: Corey Weaver / San Francisco Opera

My review of San Francisco Opera's Der Ring des Nibelungen is now posted at San Francisco Classical Voice. I haven't re-read it yet; I did some editing this morning around 6 a.m. and, as always, I have doubts.

Covering four operas in one review is tough. I took a tack I usually don't, with some comparisons to the 2011 bring up. I think this is reasonable, especially since, overall, the company fielded a much better cast than in 2011. Still, I had to omit so much detail!

In addition, I have some thoughts that really aren't appropriate for a review, though they're fine for a blog post. For this cycle, I decided to sit in my subscription seats up the in Dress Circle, rather than in the Orchestra with the rest of the press corps. This had the advantage of giving me a great view of the stage and better sound than you get from the usual seats, where you can hear the echo off the audience-left wall and from which it is difficult to judge orchestral balances and orchestra/singer balances.

Those were the gains. The loss was in being pretty far from the action versus sitting in the orchestra. Even with binoculars, I felt somewhat removed from the drama, especially since the last time I saw the Ring, I was in about row 6 of the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth. That was intimate, and, yeah, I missed that.

That said, I'm pretty darned happy with what I saw and heard in the opera house. Donald Runnicles has the orchestra playing fabulously well, and there's a lot of terrific singing. I should really have managed an "Iréne Theorin saves the day" statement someplace in my review. It's amazing to me that she could come into this production on a month's notice, arriving after that, and learn the staging so fast, then give such a wonderful performance. San Francisco Opera is very, very lucky that she was available and willing to step in.

It's not too late to get tickets, although they will probably be expensive tickets; the less-expensive seats undoubtedly sold out a while ago. This is a good production, and it would be hard to assemble a better cast and conductor.

1 comment:

Darrick Chen said...

Thank you Lisa for your wonderful review of the Ring Cycle. I can always rely on an honest review from you and insights I may have missed of the performance.

-Sacto OperaFan