Siegfried

 

Richard Wagner Siegfried to libretto by the composer. Directed 2008 by Michael Schulz at the Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar. Stars Johnny Van Hal [not "Hall] (Siegfried), Tomas Möwes (Wotan as Wanderer), Nadine Weissmann (Erda), Lars Creuzburg (Donner), Steffen Bärtl (Froh), Catherine Foster (Brünnhilde), Erika Krämer (Grane), Frieder Aurich (Mime), Mario Hoff (Alberich), Johannes Martin (Hagen), Hidekazu Tsumaya (Fafner), Heike Porstein (Forest Bird), and Burkhard Wolf (Voice of the Norns). Carl St. Clair conducts the Staatskapelle 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

This is the third installment of the Ring cycle by the Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar. Unfortunately, Schulz was not able to keep much continuity of the male roles throughout the first 3 operas. Wotan is played by a different singer in each installment. There is some discontinuity for Alberich, Loge, Froh, and Donnor. This caused considerable confusion for us in watching this Siegfried.

Peter Gelb, general director of the Met, claims there are only 5 people in the world who can sing Siegfried. I doubt that Johnny van Hal is on Gelb's list. Still, van Hal did pretty well and is probably the strongest singer we have encountered so far in this Weimer Ring series. We think he's been successful with this role in several other well-regarded opera houses.

But this production is pretty well ruined for us by the harsh attempt of Tomas Möwes to sing the Wanderer (Wotan). When Möwes comes on, we have to grit teeth or fast forward with the remote control. This rotten apple together with the shabby sets and costumes sap what energy we have for tolerating the rest of the mostly mediocre singers cast here. The orchestra sounds worse than in their recordings for Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, and the SQ is not good.

Director Schulz loves, as an intellectual challenge or just as Eurotrash, to put characters on the stage at odd times. For example, Donnor and Froh are not officially in Siegfried. But you can understand why they might be irritated with that pretty forest bird who helps Siegfried, so Schulz lets them rape and kill her in Act III.

In view of the wonderful Met Ring recordings we now have, we don't see any reason for most viewers to invest money and time in this Weimar Siegfried,  so we give it a D.

Sorry, no decent YouTube clip for this disc.