Saturday, August 15, 2015

Siegfried - Bayreuther Festspiele 2015

Oh no... What would an anarchist do after one night of being celebrated as a "conservative, brilliant" director that "stayed loyal" to the work of composer without doing any harmful stage direction to distract the audience from the wonderful music? He would do the exact opposite on the following night. Yeah... I've seen a lot of Castorf's production in Berlin. But this one is quite hard to swallow.
Yes, you could leave the whole dragon thing outside of the production. Yes, you could dress the Waldvogel as a woman from CSD stret parade, having a little sexy time with Siegfried. Yes, you could put (this year four) crocodiles on stage during Brünnhilde & Siegfried's duet. Yes, you could have two sets that have nothing to do with each other on the visual level and just spin them around as the scene (not the act) changes. Yes, I could tolerate all those things, which actually were huge problems for so many people of the audience. What I hate is the disrespectful direction on stage which requires the singers to throw beach chairs, flip tables, or smash things in a constant manner throughout the whole evening without any necessity or whatsoever to the story. It's simply a useless distraction of the music. Not to mention Castorf's placing of the singers in such hidden position on stage, more or less minimizing the vocal quality heard by the audience. With that being said, I think we got a rather bad production that intended to be on the Volksbuhne level. Boos after second act, mega boos after third act with some bravos. Castorf is definitely happy about this.

Prost to Aleksandar Denić and his stage. A socialist Mount Rushmore and a semi-replica of Alexanderplatz in Berlin on the other side. Very realistic, very awesome concept. For a second or two, it really gave me the feeling of awe I've never felt towards any stage designs before. 

Stefan Vinke, replacing Lance Ryan this summer, is brilliant as Siegfried. Definitely on top of my list with Andreas Schager. He is charismatic on stage, his voice is loud and strong, fulfilling the standard for the rebel character Siegfried itself. The character of his voice is so young and lively, unlike Lance Ryan (who's rather flat). Castorf must be very happy for getting a Siegfried, who's willing to do anything on stage. 
Our Brünnhilde, Catherine Foster, just as the previous night, did a very great job. A very wide emotion range and vocal strength was displayed during the final scene of third act.
Mirella Hagen is very dramatic as Waldvogel. 
Andreas Conrad as Mime gives a very delightful performance as a character tenor in top form. Effortlessly he jumped from the lower notes to "hihihi" in high notes, while displaying very lively actions on stage.
Wolfgang Koch & Albert Dohmen were amazing. Bravos for all.

Kiril Petrenko for the win. His skills were on full display in many scenes, such as in Siegfried's monologue, Waldvogel scene, or final of third act with Siegfried and Brünnhilde. Full gas in instrumental passages, sounded so grand and whole. It's true what many say, his conducting is getting rounder and grander in its third summer.

Resume: Production not for the faint-hearted, but the music is top. 

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