You probably tuned in to this afternoon's Siegfried* on Sirius so I'm not breaking any good or bad news. Let's group things into surprising and not surprising.
-Surprising, to me, because I've never heard him and had to think to come up with any info about him (think he was in the Busoni thing?): Brubaker. Fantastic singing in a drag of a role. Lagniappe: from Balcony he looked like Edith "Big Edie" Bouvier Beale, which really explains everything you ever needed to know about Act I of Siegfried.
-Somewhat surprising: Christian Frantz, who I had heard turn in a tireless, high quality Tristan in concert not that many years back, kind of got sung off the stage by See Above. He wasn't bad, but he wasn't very audible in Act I (which makes the forging song kind of a dud) though he sounded considerably warmed up in the next act. By the end, he was doing some shouting, I'm sorry to say. Maybe an off day, and in any case not a catastrophe. More points for physical characterization than vocal.
-Not particularly surprising, on the basis of youtube clips: Irene Theorin. The first thing I said to my long-suffering opera-going companion when the lights came up (well, shortly after "could you believe she kept unwrapping that food for that long?!") was that I have no regrets whatsoever about not hearing Brewer, though I was looking forward to Brewer as much as the next guy not named Schenk. It's a short, intense sing, and she was ravishing. I know it's a horribly overused joke, but for some reason I can't help myself--she had me at "Heil dir."
-Not in the least surprising: Jon Tomlinson=Wagner. The extra fun here was that Schenk's design for Fafner was actually wonderfully spooky to me (in that you can't tell where Fafner begins and where the forest ends, so he might be UNDER ALL OF OUR FEET) until I realized he was also kind of reminiscent of Mr. Snuffleupagus, at which point he became hilarious. Although still creepy in a way since who the hell would drive a sword into the heart of Mr. Snuffleupagus?
-Surprising only to me, and not entirely that: James Morris' utterly affecting Wanderer, as aurally resplendent as it was heartfelt. I've long been a naysayer, but once in a while, he blows me away, and this was one of those. Not for nothing, did I just witness his last Wotan ever? Because I was just discussing with someone the things we will taunt young opera queens with in twenty years and I need to know if this goes on the list.
Next up: the big G.
*or, as my friend BAD likes to call it, "Siegfried." Nevermind, doesn't work in print, but hopefully he'll laugh when he reads it.