I spent the weekend listening to Wagner with a stuffed nose, that is, I don’t mean the singers had stuffed noses, just me, or well just me and my cat, but I can see I have already confused things hopelessly.
It started here and moved on to this and this weekend we fetched up at Siegfried, five frapping hours (really six, with intermissions, during which I jogged around the Octoplex) trying to keep myself from lumbar spasm while a star was born. Holy anvils, Batman.
Okay, maybe you want a bit more of the gutsy resonance I remember from Windgassen in his prime, say, or Melchior throwing it right in your face from sinuses, chest and probably balls, but then this guy got yanked into the role at the last minute, and for me someone standing up there on the stage gets points for being Siegfried, channeling a seventeen year old galoot without a clue.
Could he be more of a natural?
Here I go to the opera in the bittersweet knowledge that next installment, Gotterdammerung, will be the last and in it there will be no more of Bryn’s Wotan, now the old and serene Wanderer ready to hang up all his godly ambitions. (The Cute Engineer has solemnly informed me that everyone is entitled to a pre-emptive pardon from their Significant Other regarding a short list of five celebrities that they would leap into bed with if they only had the chance, and accepts that Bryn is one of mine; the only other candidate I can think of is Kenneth Branagh, but even that I would have to sit down and think over.) Was I ready for a lucky-break story involving a hardworking, brave and rather humble-seeming guy with a cornpone Texas accent and musical acting skills on track to match Bryn’s own?
Be still, my beating heart. And please God, open, my stifled nose. (Somewhere in Act II I finally got service out of one nostril. I don’t remember it bothering me after that, but the next day, I couldn’t breathe — autumn allergies on crack, which are even bothering Mr. Ferguson the cat — and could barely hobble.)
The Engineer, insisting that he is caught up in this production and not merely putting up with it for my sake, rejected my offer to narrate a preview of the plotline of Gotterdammerung. “I just want to see it unfold,” he said.
I love that kind of ingenuousness, too.