Discussion:
New “Siegfried” on Naxos (up-coming release)
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j***@gmail.com
2017-10-17 21:26:40 UTC
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The third part of Naxos’s Ring Cycle will be released on November 10, 2017.

Trailer, here:



And the first 20 minutes of Act 1, here:



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Siegfried — Simon O’Neill
Brünnhilde — Heidi Melton
Mime — David Cangelosi
Wanderer — Matthias Goerne
Alberich — Werner Van Mechelen
Fafner — Falk Struckmann
Woodbird — Valentina Farcas
Erda — Deborah Humble
Brünnhilde — Heidi Melton

Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra — Jaap van Zweden

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O'Neill sounds really good! Melton not so much.
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-10-18 16:59:36 UTC
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Post by j***@gmail.com
The third part of Naxos’s Ring Cycle will be released on November 10, 2017.
http://youtu.be/So9bR-pIanU
http://youtu.be/LATKRo_dQOA
======================
Siegfried — Simon O’Neill
Brünnhilde — Heidi Melton
Mime — David Cangelosi
Wanderer — Matthias Goerne
Alberich — Werner Van Mechelen
Fafner — Falk Struckmann
Woodbird — Valentina Farcas
Erda — Deborah Humble
Brünnhilde — Heidi Melton
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra — Jaap van Zweden
======================
O'Neill sounds really good! Melton not so much.
I am reviewing this right now, for the BBC. HAven't heard it all, but so far I like it, especially at bargain price. Van Z. isn't the world's most articulate Wagnerian, but he gets a nice theatrical sweep into things. I'll post some more when I finish. Note that like its predecessors it's also available on BluRay.

Cheers,

Mike
Bert Coules
2017-10-19 09:25:42 UTC
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It sounds fine but there's something wrong about seeing two performers
acting their socks off as Siegfried and Mime while wearing immaculate
evening dress: it took me right out of the reality of the action in a way
that wouldn't have happened if they'd been wearing plain rehearsal clothes.
I can ignore the sight of the orchestra, the conductor and the audience, but
an evil dwarf and an innocent hero raised in the wild simply shouldn't look
like that.

Bert
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-10-23 12:19:33 UTC
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Post by Bert Coules
It sounds fine but there's something wrong about seeing two performers
acting their socks off as Siegfried and Mime while wearing immaculate
evening dress: it took me right out of the reality of the action in a way
that wouldn't have happened if they'd been wearing plain rehearsal clothes.
I can ignore the sight of the orchestra, the conductor and the audience, but
an evil dwarf and an innocent hero raised in the wild simply shouldn't look
like that.
Bert
I know what you mean, Bert. "Stuffed shirt", literally. But on the other hand I still have that amazing Edinburgh Walkure in my head, with most of them in full evening dress (Terfel had left his jacket off and his collar open), and it didn't matter a damn. And given what they're likely to be wearing in most stage productions today, at least evening dress is conventional enough not to obtrude!

(Though mind you, there was a vogue for sticking the gods in evening dress, a little after the "Wagner's dressing-gown" fashion -- I remember seeing Strauss;s Daphne, and when Apollo revealed himself, it was in full tux, to a concerted groan from the audience!)

I think what makes the difference, as in Edinburgh, is their ability to act within the confines of the concert stage. Here it wasn't really possible, because of the physical layout and recording demands, though I noticed Alberich reacting very much in character to the Wanderer. Incidentally, I believe the HK Phil was reinforced with some of the Edinburgh players, from the RSNO, as one's wife told me he was off back to Hong Kong to record.

Preliminary reports on the Siegfried, anyway, is that it is indeed extremely good, with, unfortunately, the exception of Melton's Brunnhilde. I've seen her on stage as Sieglinde more than once and she was great, clear-voiced and ardent, but I don't know what's happened to her here -- unsteady, choppy phrasing, moments of dubious pitch, etc. I'd still rather hear her than a lot of Brunnhildes, but that's not saying too much. She isn't singing it in Gotterdammerung, anyhow -- it's a Scandinavian name I don't immediately recognise. Siegfried there will be Daniel Brenna. The Gunther, interestingly, will be Chinese, Shen Yang.

Cheers,

Mike
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-10-23 12:20:25 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Bert Coules
It sounds fine but there's something wrong about seeing two performers
acting their socks off as Siegfried and Mime while wearing immaculate
evening dress: it took me right out of the reality of the action in a way
that wouldn't have happened if they'd been wearing plain rehearsal clothes.
I can ignore the sight of the orchestra, the conductor and the audience, but
an evil dwarf and an innocent hero raised in the wild simply shouldn't look
like that.
Bert
I know what you mean, Bert. "Stuffed shirt", literally. But on the other hand I still have that amazing Edinburgh Walkure in my head, with most of them in full evening dress (Terfel had left his jacket off and his collar open), and it didn't matter a damn. And given what they're likely to be wearing in most stage productions today, at least evening dress is conventional enough not to obtrude!
(Though mind you, there was a vogue for sticking the gods in evening dress, a little after the "Wagner's dressing-gown" fashion -- I remember seeing Strauss;s Daphne, and when Apollo revealed himself, it was in full tux, to a concerted groan from the audience!)
I think what makes the difference, as in Edinburgh, is their ability to act within the confines of the concert stage. Here it wasn't really possible, because of the physical layout and recording demands, though I noticed Alberich reacting very much in character to the Wanderer. Incidentally, I believe the HK Phil was reinforced with some of the Edinburgh players, from the RSNO, as one's wife told me he was off back to Hong Kong to record.
Preliminary reports on the Siegfried, anyway, is that it is indeed extremely good, with, unfortunately, the exception of Melton's Brunnhilde. I've seen her on stage as Sieglinde more than once and she was great, clear-voiced and ardent, but I don't know what's happened to her here -- unsteady, choppy phrasing, moments of dubious pitch, etc. I'd still rather hear her than a lot of Brunnhildes, but that's not saying too much. She isn't singing it in Gotterdammerung, anyhow -- it's a Scandinavian name I don't immediately recognise. Siegfried there will be Daniel Brenna. The Gunther, interestingly, will be Chinese, Shen Yang.
Cheers,
Mike
y
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-10-23 12:21:15 UTC
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y
Dunno what that was! y not?

Mike
Bert Coules
2017-10-23 12:56:50 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
I think what makes the difference, as in Edinburgh,
is their ability to act within the confines of the concert
stage. Here it wasn't really possible, because of the
physical layout and recording demands...
Interestingly I didn't feel that, possibly because (in a slightly different
context) I'm very used to performances directed at microphones and not
involving too much of the surrounding space. I didn't miss the same degree
of movement that one would get on a stage at all, and thought that the
performances went well beyond the purely vocal: for me they all reacted
"very much in character" to use your phrase.

Bert
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-10-29 13:40:14 UTC
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Post by Bert Coules
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
I think what makes the difference, as in Edinburgh,
is their ability to act within the confines of the concert
stage. Here it wasn't really possible, because of the
physical layout and recording demands...
Interestingly I didn't feel that, possibly because (in a slightly different
context) I'm very used to performances directed at microphones and not
involving too much of the surrounding space. I didn't miss the same degree
of movement that one would get on a stage at all, and thought that the
performances went well beyond the purely vocal: for me they all reacted
"very much in character" to use your phrase.
Bert
I've certainly seen a lot worse in concert -- the Kirov Rheingold concert in 2016, where they all stood around as if stuffed. I suppose it's having seen that Edinburgh Walkure, which wasn't bound to mikes at all. The Usher Hall stage is wider than most theatres, and we had the singers, in particular Terfel, stalking up and down it-- when Brunnhilde shrank back from Wotan in Act III she shot back from one side to cower in the far corner (and well she might have, with Terfel radiating rage). Siegmund and Sieglinde weren't so mobile, but the chemistry was pretty palpable, ending with a major clinch and her in tears. But I did enjoy the Naxos Siegfried very much indeed. I've submitted my review, so I may post something more shortly, but I think it's pretty good, though Melton is no more than acceptable.

Cheers,

Mike
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-11-01 18:16:00 UTC
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OK. promised to post some impressions of this, now my review is in. On the whole it's very good. I don't buy every new recording, but I'd have bought this one, not least for the orchestral playing and the sound -- especially on BluRay. Van Zweden isn't what I'd call a very deep or nuanced conductor, but he has an obvious feeling for the music, and a sense of dramatic sweep which is refreshing after hearing someone like Thielmann, who to my mind gets stodgier all the time -- that Netrebko Lohengrin did not impress me, and still less so that turgid Salzburg Walkure. Van Zweden is fairly fleet-footed without any Boulezian glibness. The orchestra is augmented -- I think by some RSNO players -- and the technical standard and ensemble are impressively high for live performance; I don't believe any corrections were made.

The cast is world-class, quite exceptional for a bargain-to-mid release, and, with one, possibly two exceptions, highly competitive at any price. The first exception is of course Melton, whom I've enjoyed more than once as Sieglinde, and who's been very widely praised; but IMHO Brunnhilde doesn't seem to suit her voice as well. It's a basically attractive tone, fresh and youthful, but the microphone exposes quite noticeable unsteadiness and pitch uncertainty (her last Lachende Tod, for example), and some of her phrasing is peculiarly clumsy -- Ewig war'ich. She isn't intolerable, though -- not nearly as bad as, say, Eva Marton, but not up there with the finest either. Which cannot be said of Simon O'Neill's Siegfried. True, he has moments of arid tone, he isn't ideally expressive in German -- when he explodes about not being able to bear Mime, it falls flat. But this is a bright, ringing, fluent tone with a combination of power and lyrical capacity that makes most contemporary heldentenors sound lumpen. He sounds young in a way that more baritonal heldentenors don't, and less like a thug, but convincingly heroic in the forging scene, for example. That brightness, though, occasionally makes his voice mingle a little closely with David Cangelosi's unusually forceful Mime, who is evidently making an effort to sing the role and not just cackle it. So does Werner van Mechelen's Alberich, but he's not the most convincing embodiment of evil.

The second exception is Falk Struckmann's very leathery, baritonal dragon -- indeed, he's billed as a bass-baritone. He's suitably amplified, though, which compensates for lack of lower-range resonance, and he carries it off with strong characterization, including some laughs and roars more animalistic than most singers risk. Matthias Goerne disappointed me in Rheingold with a rather dull Wotan, but though he also doesn't have quite the best low notes for the Wanderer, his naturally dark voice makes up for it, and the way he infuses the long lines with a distinctive air of sadness and world-weariness. Deborah Humble is a fine Erda, with the right touch of eerieness and not at all grande-dameish. Which leaves Valentina Farcas' Woodbird -- who shapes and paces her trills better than almost any other I've heard, and that includes Te Kanawa and Sutherland, and with clearer diction. I've gone back and listened to her several times now.

So it isn't perfect. No recording ever is, but this, for me, adds up to a really vivid enjoyable performance, in a way that many more illustrious don't. It doesn't take over from the classic recordings, but I would certainly add it to the list.

Cheers,

Mike
wkasimer
2017-11-02 16:08:40 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
OK. promised to post some impressions of this, now my review is in.
(snip)
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
So it isn't perfect. No recording ever is, but this, for me, adds up to a really vivid enjoyable performance, in a way that many more illustrious don't. It doesn't take over from the classic recordings, but I would certainly add it to the list.
Thanks, Mike - I look forward to the arrival of my copy from MDT....
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