See Wagner - Die Walküre, Bayreuth on youtube.
See Wagner - Der Ring Des Nibelung on youtube.
See WAGNER DIE WALKURE LEGENDADO P on youtube.
See Die Walküre (2004 Remastered V on youtube.
See Die Walkure, Act I: Winterstur on youtube.
See Die Walküre part 1 (The Copenh on youtube.
See Vladimir Baykov - Wotans Absch on youtube.
See Walkure on youtube.
See WAGNER - Ride of the Valkyries on youtube.
See Die Walkuere (part I) on youtube.
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This production, directed by Cristof Nel is like one of those challenges they give to eager young apprentices on daytime reality shows: "We wish you to scene Die Walküre and you have a budget of 50 to do it on". I imagine most of the budget was spent on the brown wrapping paper and sticky tape to create the Valkyries' wings. It does begin off well though, in the meeting between Sieglinde and Siegmund. To be honest, I have never known this stage to fail. It just oozes eroticism. Angela Denoke is a sensuous Sieglinde and Robert Gambill is a virile Siegmund. I suppose the fact that Denoke wears just a nylon slip makes me think that it resembles something by Tennessee Williams although I should not, for the life of me, work out why Gambill wears short trousers. In this ver it is implied that Wotan has buried his sword, Nothung, not in the ash tree but in Sieglinde's body as we see it projected onto her nylon slip. This makes some sort of sense to me.In Act II we see Wotan, played as a fat slob by Jan-Hedrik Rootering, and a mini-skirted Brünnhilde, sung by Renate Behle. Behle is the smallest singer I have seen testing this demanding role. She makes a valiant attempt but her face distorts disconcertingly and her knobbly knees buckle under the effort. Tachina Vaughn is more successful as Frike, Wotan's wife and the stage in which she nags him into abandoning his protégé Siegmund is an effective one. So Siegmund has to lose his war with Hagen, here staged crudely with marionettes.The ride of the Valkyries, sung by eight mini-skirted girls with cardboard wings, looks silly and sounds underpowered with an unimpressive Stuttgart orchestra under conductor Lothar Zagrosek. Worse is to come: the final stage between Wotan and Brünnhilde is played as soap opera. He sits reading a newspaper while she harangues him. There is no tip here of the tender, probably incestuous, feelings that Wotan has for his daughter.
I love all four operas of the Ring Cycle, and while my private favorite is Siegfried, Die Walkure is a close second and perhaps the most available of the four. Previously I had seen the 1990 Met, 2011 Met, 1980 Bayreuth, 1992 Bayreuth and 2008/9 Valencia productions, and especially 1990 and 1992 I place each single one of those over this one. Of the Stuttgart performances of the Ring, Gotterdammerung was the least problematic to me, though still problematic. Die Walkure is not a finished travesty and better than their Siegfried, which was disgusting in my view.Like I told with Das Rheingold, it does receive brownie points for the superb music, as is everytime the situation with Wagner, and a couple of nice performances. Greatest of the lot is the affecting Sieglinde of Angela Denoke, though, although I hated his costuming, Robert Gambill has a nice virile voice as Siegmund and is a nice actor. There's also a very well sung and acted Fricka from Tichina Vaughn, if not quite my definition of thrilling.However, Jan Hendrik Rootering is a very unconvincing Wotan. And no I don't mean his appearance. He is never firm or authoritative enough in the role, in fact he looks very uncomfortable especially in Act 2, and his voice has a weak-pushed-up-bass quality to it, the important high notes for the stage in Act 2 between him and Brunnhilde and Wotan's Farewell sound seriously strained. Renate Behle didn't work for me as Brunnhilde either. Her voice was too shrill for my liking with some large notes missed, she has a terrible habit of contorting her face at times and her tiny stature and constantly buckling knees is not really Walkure material.Musically, it is not bad, with the orchestra quite strong when they need to be though I got the sense I was listening to a ver of Walkure rather than a real Wagnerian sound, but the conducting often plods such as in Wotan's Act 2 monologue and some parts of the melody before climaxes come across as overly-bombastic, almost as if he was rushing to receive to them. The Walkures sound underpowered, and the staging of Ride of the Valkyries was so ridiculously terrible I couldn't support laughing aloud.Visually, that's other story. The sets look either stark or silly, and really don't reflect the mood of the score often. This is particularly real in Act 3. The costumes aren't much better, Siegmund's and the Walkures are just horrible for my tastes, but it's nothing compared to Hunding and sadly the performance in this role was nothing to write about either(alright I wasn't expecting other Salminen or Holle but at least give us a bass that didn't sound underpowered). Dramatically this Walkure never really comes to life, Ride of the Valkyries is very ineptly done, but that is not all. Wotan's Farewell, one of the highlights of any of Wagner's work, is nowhere near as monumental as it could be, they really have got to do better than candles for the Magic Fire. The scenes between Brunnhilde and Wotan as far as I'm concerned were emotionally stillborn. Some of the staging doesn't create sense even, like in Act 1 with the sword.The technical values(picture and sound quality) were fine though. The video directing is also not bad, several of the scenes here are as badly handled as Alberich's curse from Rheingold in this respect. All in all, cute poor. 4/10 Bethany Cox
New York, NY 10013
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