Richard Wagner: Siegfried (2004)

by | Jul 14, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Richard Wagner: Siegfried (2004)

Performed by: Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona / Bertrand de Billy
Stage director: Harry Kupfer
Starring: John Treleaven, Graham Clark, Deborah Polaski, Falk Struckmann, Günter von Kannen, Eric Halfvarson
Studio: Opus Arte OA 0912 D
Video: Enhanced for 16:9 widescreen
Audio: DTS 5.1, PCM Stereo
Length: 256 minutes
Rating: ** 1/2

There have been a plethora of releases of Wagnerian operas on DVD
recently, not all of them felicitous events. This production by the
famed stage designer Harry Kupfer is mediocre, redeemed from disaster
by Graham Clark’s delightful Mime and Deborah Polaski’s artful, though
labored, singing. The opera opens with a scene of an airplane hangar as
Mime attempts to forge the broken sword Nothung. Clark is agile,
athletic, intense, and oddly comical. A veteran Mime, he is perfectly
cast, both vocally and dramatically.

The contentious adolescent Siegfried, however, sung by the middle-aged
John Treleavan, is unconvincing. Treleaven’s underpowered and tepid
vocal equipment is especially disappointing in one of the high points
of the opera, the Forging Scene. Struckmann’s voice (as the Wanderer)
is wobbly and choppy, with no staying power. Dressed in a shiny coat,
trilby hat, and ponytail, he is a rogue creature, a member of a
motorcycle gang rather than a noble god. When we finally reach the
awakening of Brünnhilde in Act 3, we are in surer hands vocally.
Polaski, who is experienced in this Fach, is tender and sincere, though
frequently flat. The orchestra supports the singers well but plays
Wagner by the book, as though the music were Mozart. The sound is good,
and the entire opera is bathed in blue. Kupfer’s stage design falls
somewhere between the styles of “Eurotrash” and the Met’s naturalistic

-Dalia Geffen


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