'Siegfried' lead offers a truly heroic performance
Review: Despite a rough night — he is recovering from illness — Stig Andersen clearly is a terrific Siegfried, singing the title role in Wednesday night's opera lyrically and with considerable finesse.
Special to The Seattle Times
"Der Ring des Nibelungen"Presented by Seattle Opera, through Aug. 30, McCaw Hall, Seattle Center. Limited tickets are still available; call for details: 206-389-7676 or www.seattleopera.org.
Opera Review |
When an opera company's general director comes to the stage for a preperformance announcement, it's almost never good news.
Speight Jenkins' news was mixed on Wednesday night: the title-role singer in "Siegfried," Stig Andersen, would go on as scheduled, but was recovering from a viral infection and a fever. Since this role is one of the toughest and most demanding ones in the heldentenor repertoire, it was clear that Andersen might have a rough night ahead.
And so it proved. But even when not at his best, Andersen clearly is a terrific Siegfried, singing the role lyrically and with considerable finesse. The first-act Forging Scene proved a struggle, and there were moments later on when the voice was frayed and fatigued — but there also was much to make the audience glad this fine singing actor had stayed the course. His years of experience in this role have contributed to a high level of interpretive detail. Here's hoping that Andersen is in great health for Friday's "Götterdämmerung."
Both Andersen and his character's principal antagonist, Dennis Petersen as the nasty dwarf Mime, are new to the "Ring" cast this year. Petersen also made a great impression, using his powerful tenor and his tonal variety to excellent advantage in creating a character unpleasant enough that we forgive Siegfried for dispatching him.
As Mime's even nastier brother Alberich, Richard Paul Fink made the most of a short scene that includes some desperately needed comic relief: a shouting match between the two brothers that has both of them gibbering with rage, jumping up and down and throwing things. Here, as elsewhere in the production, Stephen Wadsworth's expert staging has interaction and engagement always at its core.
Greer Grimsley continues to impress with his Wotan (called the Wanderer in this opera), adding to his rich characterization the pathos of Wotan's loss of power.
The third major newcomer to the cast, besides Andersen and Petersen, is Janice Baird as Brünnhilde — who doesn't appear until the third act, but then gets some of the most glorious music in the "Ring" to sing. Her voice was a little more under control than in Monday's "Die Walküre," and Baird's gleaming high Cs were freely produced.
Julianne Gearhart was a beautiful Forest Bird; Maria Streijffert an underpowered Erda and Daniel Sumegi a resonant Fafner. Robert Spano's orchestra had a few erratic moments, but some fine individual playing, and the beautiful sweep of this mighty score was all there.
Melinda Bargreen: firstname.lastname@example.org
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