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Gotterdammerung (2006)

TV Movie  -   -  Music  -  May 2006 (Denmark)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Stig Fogh Andersen ...
Siegfried
Guido Paevatalu ...
Günther
Sten Byriel ...
Alberich
Peter Klaveness ...
Hagen
Iréne Theorin ...
Brünnhilde
Ylva Kihlberg ...
Gutrune
Annette Bod ...
Waltraute
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael Schønwandt ...
Himself - Conductor
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Has some questionable touches, but musically it is the best of the Copenhagen Ring Cycle
30 June 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Overall, while neither of the productions are perfect or among my first choices for either of the four operas, I liked the Copenhagen Ring Cycle, thanks to some standouts of each cast(Stephen Milling, Stig Andersen, Irene Theorin), wonderful musical values, some nice staging touches(the scene between Wanderer and Erda in Siegfried) and a good concept. Of the performances, the most even for me was Siegfried, with Die Walkure especially just lacking dramatically, but musically I have to give the edge to this Gotterdammerung.

The production is not perfect by all means. While he does improve significantly in the later acts with some intensity and heroism and the tone ringing and powerful, Stig Andersen is at his worst in the opening act with some strident phrasing, strained tone and stolid acting. I also felt that Gotterdammerung was the production with the worst video directing, not just that there were too many unfocused close-ups but also I really didn't see the need of the slow-motion camera work with Brunnhilde aimlessly through Wotan's attic. The staging is mostly good actually such as the murder of hostages(during Hagen's call) and of Alberich by Hagen, and Brunnhilde's breakdown at Siegfried's death, however there are some scenes between Siegfried and Brunnhilde that recalls the Stuttgart Gotterdammerung, that cycle of productions had staging touches I hope never to see in an opera production again in all honesty.

However, while the orchestra occasionally drown out the singers it is nonetheless well transferred and the singers can still be heard. The costumes and sets are not traditional by all means, but unlike Stuttgart, they are not ugly. The orchestral playing is rich and powerful often especially in the brass who really shine in Act 2, though the woodwind also manage to be dense and forceful. Michael Schonwandt's conducting is on the whole commanding and nuanced, not quite as effective as Barenboim for Bayreuth, but far better than the over-bombastic and ponderous(overall) musical values of the Stuttgart performance. The chorus of Vassals sing with a sound that is enough to blow your socks off, they sound that incredible.

As for the performances they are overall fine. Annette Bod stands out in a very moving performance as Waltraute, while Irene Theorin is superb especially in the Immolation Scene(which was likewise interestingly if not ideally staged). Guido Paevatalu's Gunther is excellent and Ylva Kihlberg impresses with her unique middle register. Peter Klaveness as Hagen, perhaps Wagner's most evil character, was uneven vocally for me, I liked the dark quavering tones he did but found him underpowered at times. However, his first-rate acting more than makes up for things, terrifying and very ice-cold. Sten Byriel returns as Alberich, his role is more a cameo than anything else, but he acts and sings splendidly with his death very memorable. The Norns are well sung and acted decently, though I wasn't bowled over really by the staging of their scenes, not bad taste as such but not very subtle with touches I didn't see the point of.

In conclusion, musically the best of the Copenhagen Ring Cycle and vocally and dramatically(apart from an underpowered Hagen and an uneven Siegfried) on the whole first-rate. I could have done without the slow-motion camera work though, and while fine on the whole the staging has some moments that struck me as odd. Comparing it to the other parts of the Copenhagen Ring Cycle performances, it is not as good as Siegfried(which is mainly for the best scene of the four productions) but better than Rheingold and Walkure. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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