CDs / DVDs, 06. Juni 2008 Mai 2008

The third part of the Amsterdam cycle continues the fine form established from the first two productions. The set is striking in not only it's sheer size but it's simplicity. The second act comes alive with uses of a balcony and a flying fox and the first act also has a really great look about it.
John Brochelor's final outing as Wotan (or The Wanderer) is as good as his others. He portrays the world weary and tired head of the Gods with superb clarity and pathos. His scene with Erda (played by Anne Gjevang) is quite hypnotic, whereas in other productions it pretty much is a stagnant moment of the act.
Despite the bee-keeper hats that most of the cast wear (and the reappearance of the genitalia shaped Giant Fafner from Rheingold) the costumes are great. Graham Clark virtually steals everything not nailed down as Mime. His performance harkens back to some of the finest performers in the role- Stolze and Zednick come to mind. His menacing actions and facial exprerssions show the real villan and leaves us in no doubt who to is the real menace here.
Heinz Kruse provides a solid performance as Siegfried despite looking far too old (but then again, any singer even beginning to tackle the role of Siegfried should be at least 40) and perhaps a little chunky. As William Berger once noted, is there really anyone who is the perfect Siegfried?
Jeannine Altmeyer does a fine job in her brief stint as Brunnhilde at the end of the evening and the final duet is gloriously sung and staged.
One of the more curious decisions in this production is to have a male treble, Stefan Pangratz, singing the role of the woodbird. Whilst he's certainly nimble and very good at acting the part, his voice cannot handle Wagner's intricate lines all that well and it comes across as a little hokey.
All along, conductor Hartmut Haenschen keeps a tight rein on the Rotterdam Philahrmonic and the entire performance just rockets along (all three acts clocking in under 80 minutes each!) without losing the clarity and focus needed to highlight Wagner's complex score.
This was certainly the most invigorating of the three operas so far and with one more to go, I can't wait for the final installment.
Rodney Hrvatin