Sunday, 12 February 2012


I waxed lyrical about an opera set last May: it was after seeing the Met. relay of Robert Lepage's production of Die Walküre. That same set is naturally used for Lepage's new Met. Götterdämmerung: it came to us in our local Cineworld by the same magical means last evening, but I found myself less inclined to enthuse. Indeed, the gyrations of what look like so many giant Kit-Kat pieces (sometimes more resembling magnified USB sticks) made me dizzy, and distracted me from the all-important transition passages played luminously by the Met. Opera Orchestra under Fabio Luisi. This techno solution to the Ring staging worked well for the Ride of the Valkyries, each of the sisters mounted on her own piece of Kit-Kat. Last night however, we were given a pseudo-realistic Grane - the first attempt at a proper-looking Valkyre horse I think I have ever witnessed. Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde even climbs aboard as Siegfried's pyre is lit - but do we see them gallop (even trot) into the flames? No.

I have no hesitation, however, about either the singing or the acting, which were uniformly excellent. The Act 1, Scene 3 duet between Voigt and the legendary Waltraud Meier will remain long in my memory. If forced to choose amongst the rest of the cast, I might - perhaps surprisingly - single out Iain Paterson as Gunther. My photograph shows a curtain call at the first night of a very different Götterdämmerung: Phyllida Lloyd's excellent Coliseum production eight years ago, conducted by Paul Daniel. And the Gunther, alongside the mighty, pocket-battleship Brünnhilde, Kathleen Broderick? Iain Paterson.

Alberich's theft is a sin against the integrity of creation; but so is Wotan's cutting into the world ash tree, to make for himself a world-dominating spear: both actions upset the balance of what was ever a sustainable world order. Rather like us, exhausting fossil fuels and destroying the rain forest?

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