Götterdämmerung

 

Richard Wagner Götterdämmerung to libretto by the composer. Directed 2008 by Michael Schulz  at the Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar. Stars Norbert Schmittberg (Siegfred), Tomas Möwes (Alberich), Mario Hoff (Gunther), Renatus Mészár (Hagen), Catherine Foster (Brünnhilde), Marietta Zumbült (Gutrune),  Nadine Weissmann (Waltraute/Second Norn), Christine Hansmann (First Norn), Silona Michel (Third Norn/Woglinda), Susann Günther-Dissmeier (Wellgunde), and Christiane Bassek (Floẞhilde). Carl St. Clair conducts the Staatskapelle Weimar, the Opera Chorus of the Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar, and Gentlemen of the Philharmonic Chorus Weimar. Set design by Dirk Becker; costumes by Renée Listerdal; dramaturgy by Wolfgang Willaschek. Directed for TV by Brooks Riley. Released  2009, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: D-

Each opera in this Weimar Ring des Nibelungen is worse than what went before. The name of this title should be "Directordämmerung," if we may coin a word in the Germish language (a dialect similar to Spanglish). By the time Götterdämmerung came along, it appears director Schulz had run out of money, enthusiasm, support, and hope. Or maybe Schulz was disabled for a time and Willaschek (dramaturgy) is the one who went berserk. Thus this production is inundated with stuff like menacing delinquent teenagers, mass rapes, an old lady who is showered with affection because she is a surrogate for Brünnhilde's horse, a sex scene between Brünnhilde and Gunther, and a shower instead of a bonfire in Act III. Maybe this will distract from the pitiful set, ugly costumes, weak singers, absence of real directing, and inadequate rehearsal time. Even the orchestra seemed to be infected: it sounds like an old LP reissued on a CD for super-bargain sale at the grocery store (bad performance and SQ). The English subtitles are roughly as bad as reported earlier.

There were a couple of  bright spots. The Chorus actually sounds great in anticipation of the wedding party (end of Track 26). (That's 4 hours of watching an opera to come up with 20 seconds of really pretty singing.) Brooks Riley managed to get good video content and PQ. We would like to give this an F. But out of respect for the difficulty of the task undertaken, we put the grade at D-.

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