While in Munich, I found Simon Rattle’s Walküre from Aix. Of course the old TV in my hotel room had a horrible sound and I couldn’t turn the volume up that late because my unlovely (to say the least) neighbours did not seem to be Wagnerians. That said, I could realize nonetheless that this was a major performance. Rattle could spin such rich warm sounds from the string, perfectly blended with woodwind and clean and articulated. Also, Eva-Maria Westbroek was a marvelous Sieglinde! What a creamy rich jugendlich dramatisch soprano she has! On the other hand, I didn’t warm to Eva Johannson’s Brünnhilde. She is a sensitive artist, but there is too much adaptation and distortion in her vocal production in order to make her a dramatic soprano. The rest of the cast was ok, but I guess that this deserved to be released for Westbroek and Rattle. It seems they will be together in Salzburg with the same work next year – maybe they are waiting to record this at deluxe circumstances.
Speaking of Die Walküre, I am currently listening to act II from Bayreuth’s today performance and I have to confess I won’t probably be here for act III. The internet broadcast does nto have a great sound and it is difficult to say anything about Thielemann. Linda Watson had some troubles with Ho-jo-to-ho and her voice is not necessarily inspiring, but she is a reliable and intelligent singer. As for Endrik Wottrich, I thought he would make a decent Heldentenor considering the colour of his voice in his Spieltenor days, but it sounds basically rough and unfinished. I also thought Albert Dohmen would be an excellent Wotan – I remember his powerful Amfortas live in Munich in 2004, but the truth is that the voice lacks some firmness and tonal variety these days. This makes the long scene with Brünnhilde really looong. Michelle Breedt’s small-scale Fricka did not cause a great impression on me either – but Adrienne Pieczonka is an excellent Sieglinde, touchingly feminine and beautifully sung. Maybe I’ll listen to the reprise only to hear her singing act I.
– Can anyone not love Joyce DiDonato? Rarely has my opinion on the artist and his or her artistry been so similar as in her case – she is a lovely singer and, reading her blog, I can also say she is a lovely person. I always believed that generosity is in the core of what art is about – and Joyce DiDonato is a great example of that.