I don't have a Big Statement to make about the Konzept; certain things worked--even some of the crazy ones like Erda's Really Big Hat--and certain other things were little trainwrecks (nobody's fault, but every time Tanovitsky entered in that costume all I could think was "I'll get you my pretty! And your little dog, too!") The one thing that I couldn't accept was the unresponsive staging of the last moments, in which Brunnhilde here makes something of a...I'm told it's called a French Farewell. One minute she's there; the next minute she's in a cab. I'm not the world's biggest literalist, but things have to go boom at the end of Last Call in Walhalla. It can cause a serious aesthetic case of blue balls if they don't. Wow, I never thought I'd use that phrase for anything, and yet there it is. Horrors.
With that quibble behind us, and a bottle in front of us, I am prepared to get all 3rd grade Thanksgiving list about last night's 'erung. Little Maury, what are you thankful for this year? Well, teacher, I'm thankful for Valery Gergiev's savage reading of Siegfried's funeral march, and I'm thankful for Viktor Lutsuk's unflagging fortitude and reasonably lyrical death, and on the whole I'm thankful for Olga Sergeeva.
Because she's here and there a mess, but when she's not, and sometimes when she is, she's excellent in many ways. To describe her in Fametracker fame audit terms:
Current approximate level of fame: Olga Savova
Deserved approximate level of fame: Hildegard Behrens
The part of the voice right below the money notes feels unmistakably unreliable, but maybe she'll get that straightened out. Or maybe it'll get worse, what am I, the amazing Kreskin? All's I'm saying is her Brunnhilde was a portrait, not a sketch. I actually do think Gergiev's G'd'ung might find new dimensions as the years go by, which is not to minimize its pacing or its punch, but some of the music that should be more rapturous ("Frau Sohne sendet") or more stately ("Heil dir, Gunther!") might eventually get colored in as vividly as stuff like the Rhine Journey and the big barbecue.
Tiny what-if's: Nikitin might've made a better Hagen than Petrenko, musclier voice, and first Norn Elena Vitman frankly had more contralto mojo than last night's Erda, Ms. Bulycheva. Anyway that about finishes up the summer for me, with nothing to do for 1.5 months but sit here dabbing my eyes with a kerchief, listening to Frida Leider, and maybe occasionally go to work. And yet I'm bound to go on about something or other.
Meanwhile, look forward to a guest blogger or two, one pretty soon I believe.
I just read Martin Bernheimer's take, and it's a good deal more dour than my own, and I can't entirely disagree with much of it. One thing he points out that I forgot to mention is the hilariously unimaginative staging of the Woodbird. Oh jeez. And yet I'd sit through forty more of this one before I'd willingly return to Otto Schenk's aesthetically mildewed old clunker.
p.s. Alex Ross's's's posting reminded me of another pleasure of last night's hoedown: the minute you set foot out into the plaza for a breath of fresh air or to dash for a sandwich or whatever, there's a bunch more people in one form or other of adoration of music. First there's the swing dancing dealio, which looks like great fun for those enviable souls among us able to get out of bed without breaking an ankle, then there's the big, brilliant art piece "Slow Dancing" projected on the State Theater (finally someone has found a use for the State Theater.) They project them 'til 1 each morning! Now and then, this town reminds you why you moved here, eh?