Is this ROH live broadcast the best Das Rheingold I've seen? Not for me, I do prefer the 1992 Bayreuth and 1990 Met productions. However, I did find it a very compelling performance and better than the lukewarm reviews it got. My only real disappointment were the look of Fasolt and Fafner, not as misconceived as the otherwise very good 1980 Chereau-directed production but some of their features are over-sized and otherwise they look too human to be giants. However, the costumes are fine, and the sets especially Alberich's lair bring a great deal of atmosphere, as does as the clever lighting at the start. The staging sticks faithfully n general to Wagner's stage directions, with the frog and snake effects not as cheap as they were in the Valencia and Stuttgart performances. The orchestral playing is lush and powerful, and the conducting enigmatic. The performances are also fine. Franz Josef-Selig and Phillip Ens do a good job as Fasolt and Fafner, and Rosaline Plowright while not as good as Anna Larsson(Valencia,2007) and Stephanie Blythe(Met,2010) is a impressionable Fricka. Gerhard Siegel is suitably nasty as Mime, and while not as resonant as 13 years before the Alberich of Gunter Von Kannen is otherwise menacing. The two best performances come from Bryn Terfel and especially Phillip Langridge. Terfel would lose his voice during this particular run of performances, but in this particular performance he is an outstanding Wotan, not one of my favourites but he is commanding and vocally virile, while Langridge's Loge is deliciously ironic. Overall, very compelling. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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