Opera Trance

I’ll post again when I stop singing hojotoho!!!!, whenever that is.

Only for Wagner — and Bryn — would I wedge my can into a movie-house seat for six hours (curtain for the Met’s last HD broadcast of the season was late; that damn Lepage machine had a malfunction.) I managed to find an inconspicuous corner of the lobby to do a few Hindu squats and leg-ups so that I wouldn’t actually turn to stone.

It was worth it for the Brunnhilde and Wotan that I’ve been waiting for all my life without knowing it. The second act of this opera is pretty much Schopenhauer set to music, and it can be walking constipation even performed by fantastic voices. But then you can get this. For once, you know this is Wotan’s favorite daughter, as distinct from reading it in the script.

Things haven’t started to go south yet. Wotan’s going to pull his Emo*-mortal son’s irons out of the fire; Brunnhilde is under strict instructions not to bother bringing any of his lickspittle enemies to Valhalla. This clip cuts off before Voigt — ready to leap a-horse and thunder off on her task of securing the victory and scooping up the honorable dead from the field — bubbles up with such zest for her task that she can’t restrain a little skip, and a giggle.

That’s what I want: an insane archetypal horsewoman so fond of harvesting the dead that her euphoria bursts out in a mad titter.

Speaking of mad titters, one ran through the opera-house audience (clearly audible over the live feed) when the Valkyries assembled at the beginning of the third act, appearing to ride seesaws and then scoot down slides — that damn machine again. I can only hope someone sabotages the toadsucker before any hardworking mezzo-soprano — they dished in the intermission feature, when all eight sisters appeared with their costumes knotted up like washerwomen — has to be cut out of the thing again.

Some people can’t leave well enough alone. Fortunately this cast is so good that even the production couldn’t screw them up.

I’ll be practicing with my spear.

*You think Siegmund isn’t Emo? He spends most of the first act talking about how grief is all he’s ever known and naming himself Woeful, ferfrigsake. He gets to the Spring Song just in time to keep me from bitch-slapping him. Srsly.

Actually, you have to ask if either he or Sieglinde, as typically presented, are credible hero-parent material. He whines a lot, and she spends the whole opera being rescued by men and women alike. The staging needs something — maybe a good, crippling, knee-whacking stumble as the lovers/siblings enter in the second act, to explain why she’s such a useless sack of flour in the ensuing scenes. Just a thought.


12 thoughts on “Opera Trance

  1. Looks like a fantastic staging–I couldn’t believe it when B grabbed W’s spear. I think Wagner would have approved of that interpretive mood.

    How did they handle the fire scene at the end?

    If I were stranded on a desert island and couldn’t have the whole Ring, I can’t decide whether I’d want Die Walkure or Gotterdammerung to keep me company. What do you think?

    • Only the Ring and Meistersinger with a passing grade in Dutchman, in my case. Some day I’ll get to grips with Rienzi and the parts of Tannhauser they don’t beat to death in the concert hall.

  2. I think I’ll sit through “Siegfried” next year, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to commit to “Walkure.” I was on Joyce DiDonato’s Twitter feed during the technical complications before the broadcast, though — she was throwing out first lines of limericks and asking Tweeps to complete them. What a hoot!

    • Now I had to go look.

      Ah, then, you missed the moment in the intermission feature when she asked about the cause of the delay — it was an encoding glitch in one plank of the Damn Machine — and there was yakety-yak about the tech people working double-time to restore function. “Thanks for getting it up,” she said. And there was just this split-second expression that crossed her face before she moved right along without missing a beat…

      I guess that would be called a fluff line. The Engineer and I were stifling guffaws, but the dinosaurs in the nearby seats didn’t appear to have caught it.

    • Without the sound, I would look at a minute or so and guess this for something by Verdi, say Rigoletto.

      Without the visual, I’m ten years old again listening to magic.

      Poor Brunnhilde, lying there for endless minutes with her elbow hyperextended. Ouch.

      • Yeah, know what you mean.

        Re Brunnhilde, I once read an anecdote about Flagstad and Melchior doing Tristan & Isolde. He is lying on the ground supposed to be dead and she is doing the Liebestod. He fell asleep and the stage direction was for her to fall dead on his corpse when she finishes singing (opera at its best). So he’s sound asleep and when she falls on him he very obviously wakes up.

        • It’s better than the time Caruso pressed a warm sausage into the hand of a Mimi whose tiny hand was frozen.

          I can’t blame even Tristan for falling asleep at the end of Tristan. It does go on; Wagner is the singer’s equivalent of triathlon.

          I’ve read that Melchior ordered flowers tied in the Danish national colors for Flagstad’s funeral, subscribed simply: “Isolde from Tristan.”

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