Just tuned in halfway through "Du bist der Lenz...nein, nein, du bist der Lenz, Nein, wirklich, DU bist der Lenz, ich insistiere." I think Upstate Julie Brown is liveblogging, so maybe I will, too. So far I'm just really pleased with Adrienne Pieczonka, who has a pretty solid sound with some vulnerability to it, and who also just did the Rysanek scream at the, er, unsheathing. Forbis, while lacking some of the suavity we've gotten used to with Domingo has a very gratifying virility. This is going well. More as it unfolds.
...and the crowd misses Wagner, too. I've heard the end of the act sound a bit more ecstatic but [he added later] some of the melancholic stuff with Brunnhilde & Pops is rewardingly rich and pensive.
I'm not going to go on about James Morris, I guess, because that wouldn't be sporting.
Gasteen is a singer I enjoyed immensely as Elektra, with the caveat that the top is a mess. It's still a mess, though starting with hojotoho is nobody's idea of a good time. So far, I'd still rather hear her than Eaglen, for the reason that probably goes without saying: she's singing a role, not notes.
Excellent role for Blythe, who is very word-attentive. Ok, more in a bit.
Oh, sorry. It appears people are reading and commenting and I'm half nodding despite a terrific performance, including (who always admits when he's wrong? Maury does) some very committed, if woolly, sounds from Morris. It's just, as I was saying not three minutes ago, "act ii of walkuere is interminable, like a cheap uruguayan pinot noir." I know, that doesn't make ANY sense at all, but in context, it did, as much as anything I say.
Longeurs: a word invented for Wotan's monologues. And I can't say Morris was thrilling there, but it's wordy stuff, in the worst way. Yeah, Wagner, gift horse, whatever, the outer acts are much more thrilling, aren't they? Or am I just missing something? I bought the Andrew Porter translation to listen along with sometime because I figure a singing translation (while sometimes embarrassing) at least removes the dilemma of which kind of mediation you want, to some extent: read the German and understand not enough, or read the English and it doesn't fit. Anyway the great thing about Wagner as librettist is that enough of it is WTF-inducing that you can sort of indulge in willing suspension of serious-taking, and just say "either this bit sucked in the original or it is translated in a clumsy way, and I shall never know."
A Furtwangler-mad friend of mine used to grow positively livid about Levine's Wagner, referring to his style as "curatorial," but whatever you may think of that, he's certainly made this an orchestra that plays Wagner as if it were the Haydn "Surprise!" Symphony. (Exclamation point, mine, and ironic. It's actually not that surprising.) Some gratitude is due to the universe for that. Ok, back to active listening. It gets exciting again here I think.
Ok wow, I didn't know it was Margaret Juntwait DDS, but she is sure as hell pulling teeth in this interview. This lady is doubtless wonderful at her job, but I think at the point that we were reduced to her critiquing MJ's pronunciation of the Valkyries' names, perhaps they could have yanked someone out of the audience. p.s. operas she'd like to hear more? Die Freschutz, huh? Yeah, wow that would be terrific, call me when that happens. I'll be picking out what magazines to bring and possibly programming playlists on my ipod. See now at this point Die Freischutz always turns out to be someone's favorite and I feel like a cad, but...I'm having a hard time believing Die Freischutz is anyone's favorite opera.
Did I mention I like the outer acts much, much better than Act II? Probably. Did I also mention Satan or someone made me stay up 'ti 2 watching Valley of the Dolls which I don't even really love? So I'm actually going to bed after a little bit of this act. But it looks a bit like you guys went to bed, too, so it's probably alright.