Sunday, 6 November 2011

I was at the City Screen in York yesterday evening to watch the Metropolitan Opera perform Richard Wagner's Siegfried; the third opera in the wonderful Ring Cycle.

This part of the Ring again explores Wagner’s dramatic world of giants, dwarves and humans as Siegfried, his simple and fearless hero, recasts his powerful sword, slays Fafner, the giant transformed into a dragon to protect his golden hoard, and releases Brunnhilde from her mountain top slumbers surrounded by fire. The singers move inside Robert Lepage’s extraordinary, if slightly creaky, staging; a three-dimensional world created by projections cast onto a 45-ton set composed of two dozen huge planks that move up and down. The movement of these planks transforms the stage from a bewitched forest to a fiery wall and finally to a mountaintop love nest and allows for different projections and different depths to create the colours and structures that bring the stage alive. Jay Hunter Morris sings the title role, Deborah Voigt is Brünnhilde and Bryn Terfel is Wotan, the Wanderer. James Levine was unwell so Fabio Luisi conducted this extraordinary, and surprisingly quick, performance of a wonderful piece of music; it only lasted five hours twenty minutes!

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