Not terrible by all means. Just that I enjoyed the Liceu Das Rheingold and Die Walkure, though neither were perfect, and was expecting more of the same with the Siegfried. In comparison though it is very disappointing, with the many flaws the production has it is still better than the Stuttgart and Weimar productions but for better productions see the 1990 Met, 1980 Chereau-Boulez and especially 1993 Bayreuth.
Good things: Some of the singing is good. Deborah Polaski sings powerfully and proves herself to be an intelligent actress. I just wish the chemistry between her and John Treleaven was stronger, because Polaski's Brunnhilde was really excellent indeed. Falk Struckmann is wonderful as Wanderer/Wotan, and perhaps gives his best performance of the three productions. His voice is steadier and more nuanced than it was in Rheingold and thankfully he doesn't have as idiotic a costume like in Walkure. His acting is suitably notable and eloquent. Graham Clark stole the show in Rheingold, in the role of Loge. Here he is Mime, and while Clark's voice has seen better days his performance is appropriately oily.
Gunter Von Kannen's Alberich has been better before, then again I have always found Alberich more interesting in Rheingold. His voice is still in booming condition and while he isn't given as much to do as before he gives the skin-crawling and tormented quality that Alberich should have. Eric Halvarson is a suitably sinister Fafner, he doesn't quite have Matti Saminen's darkness but the voice has command and power. Cristina Obregon's Woodbird has a bright clarity and beguiling presence that is more than ideal.
Mixed feelings: The orchestral playing are not as good as they were in Walkure, though they are not bad. The horn call is thrilling, if not quite on the same level as the Met's, however the violins are not as lush as they were in Wotan's Farewell in Walkure. The solo violins playing in the last scene managed to be out of tune. Bertrand De Billy's conducting is also uneven, in the previous two productions it was solid if not extraordinary. Act 1 is superb actually, sadly I cannot say the same for the second half of Act 3 which was much too slow.
Andrea Bonig has a good voice and sings beautifully in her big scene with Wanderer. However, Harry Kupfer doesn't give her much to work with, that sense of warning is not there here. The video directing is decent, but I wish the lighting had more contrast so that you could enjoy more of the details. The sound is pretty much the same reaction, regarding to the decent factor that is, but the back of the stage seemed distant.
Bad things: The biggest offender is the Siegfried of John Treleaven. I disliked his Liceu Tristan, and while marginally better that is not saying much at all. A lot of the time, Treleaven sounds strained and pushed, especially painful in the last phrase before the Intermezzo and when he arrives at Brunnhilde's rock. Dramatically he is not much better really with no intensity or heroism, in fact it's pretty much the worried and startled faun style of acting that helped undermine his Tristan.
Production-values-wise, I have no better news. The sets were evocative in Rheingold and Walkure, but seemed tired here, especially for the first act. I wish they would do something better than the post nuclear universe concept. Of the costumes, the worst was Brunnhilde's, very unflattering. Wotan/Wanderer's was an improvement over Walkure, but still ridiculous. Fafner visually is a disaster, little more than something like a bunch of logs. The idea of Wanderer answering Siegfried's call with a second horn didn't work for me either, not making sense within the drama. That is true of Kupfer's direction here actually, famous for his direction of singers, little of that came across here. Almost like Kupfer was concentrating so much about the concept that he forgets about the components that are supposed to make it interesting, which is a big mistake in my view.
In conclusion, a disappointing Siegfried, especially in comparison to the enjoyable two productions before it, though not the worst on DVD. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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