6.6/10
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2 user 1 critic

Siegfried (2003)

Siegfried Poster
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Cast

Cast overview:
Jon Frederic West ...
Siegfried (as Jon Fredric West)
Heinz Göhrig ...
Wolfgang Schöne ...
Björn Waag ...
Attila Jun ...
Gabriela Herrera ...
A Woodbird
Helene Ranada ...
Erda
Lisa Gasteen ...
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Richard Wagner: Ring of the Nibelung - A Stage Festival Play for Three Days and a Preliminary Evening: Second Day - Siegfried  »

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1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Tries to be wacky and witty, instead it's irritating and overly-silly
22 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Just for the record, I love opera, I love Wagner, and Siegfried is my personal favourite of the Ring Cycle(just edging out Die Walkure). So it's not as if I have some negative bias towards the opera. But I really disliked this production, it's almost as bad as Katharina Wagner's Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg when it comes to productions of any of Wagner's operas.

It isn't all bad though. The music is magnificent helped by the mostly clear sound quality, and there are two performances that are pretty good, Heinz Gohrig as a nasty and somewhat sympathetic Mime(though the masturbating, I blame the stage director rather than Gohrig) was too much) and Bjorn Waag's creepy(if perhaps too attractive) Alberich.

Wolfgang Schone vocally is the best of the three Stuttgart Wotans(in Siegfried in the guise of Wanderer, Wolfgang Probst was powerful but uncontrolled and Jan Hendrik Rootering was too weak-pushed-up-bass in quality. Schone here does have a strong voice, even with some strain and he struggles in his scene with Erda in Act 3, with the most authoritative diction of the three Wotans. Unfortunately I would rate him higher, if he didn't look so embarrassed. Lisa Gasteen as Brunnhilde is also the best of the three Brunnhildes, Behle was shrill and DeVol would have been better if she had done the role 10 yeas earlier, as she is quite excellent vocally. Sadly her costume is unflattering and the production in her big scene between her and Siegfried make her too promiscuous.

The Woodbird has vocal clarity but looks like a blind boy with spiked-up hair. This is an approach that may work well in an Eminem music video but not in a Wagner production, it's just too bizarre. Attila Jun projects his voice much more than he did as Hunding in Die Walkure. The problem of his Fafner was not his singing, but the fact that visually and dramatically he is nowhere near sinister enough, the scene between him and Siegfried doesn't have the impact the music here promises.

Jon Frederic West's Siegfried is a vast improvement over his Tristan under Mehta. The sound is strong, and far less strained and blustery than before. Dramatically he is not as promising, very stolid and unheroic most of the time and he is not helped by his costuming which actually make him larger than he actually is or the inept staging. Erda is not warning enough, looking and sounding old instead.

Musically it is decent enough, but is never outstanding. The orchestra do play with a lush sound, but are underpowered and not alert enough. The conducting is also not bad, more involved than the previous two instalments but still has a tendency to be too bombastic in the climaxes.

Visually, this Siegfried is absolutely awful. I have seen some bad-looking productions, but this one tops it. The costumes either unflatter the singers(especially West) or undermine the tension that the scenes should do(Jun's Fafner). The sets are gaudy in colour and even look filthy, Brunnhilde's boudoir is bad enough but the worst offender was the the Act 3 scene between Wotan/Wanderer and Erda.

The staging is inept, often irritating and comes across as more overly-silly approach than wacky and witty, the latter two I imagine was the objective. Those looking for anvil strokes will see Mime hitting a bowl with a potato peeler instead, the Woodbird acting like the Ghost of Christmas Future and the whole scene between Siegfried and Brunnhilde is an embarrassment, operatic soap-opera at its worst.

All in all, has one or two good performances and the music is wonderful, but visually, staging-wise and mostly characterisation-wise, it is disgusting. 3/10 Bethany Cox


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