Saturday, May 9, 2009


Jon Fredric West gets through this killer role with his voice and energy intact, reliable volume, some attempts at lyricism, decent if not melting sound, comic touches that never cross the line to the inappropriate, and an obvious sense of enjoying what he's doing. Can a Siegfried today do better?

He's a burly guy. A snarky reference to World Wrestling Entertainment was overheard by your reporter at intermission. Well, maybe Siegfried is a big guy, d'you ever think of that?

West is "in it" at every moment, e.g. reacting constantly to Mime, and even (I've never seen this before) looking over his shoulder to see where that bass-baritonal laughter is coming from when he's just killed Mime. And that reminds me, Richard Paul Fink made the most of the SIEGFRIED Alberich -- there's a lot of it to make, though only in one act -- and he proved an audience favorite.

Linda Watson still has a wobble. Well, WALKÜRE was just two nights earlier! But she delivered a lyrical "Ewig war ich" with an on-pitch an un-forced "leuchtender Spross."

James Morris was the other great audience favorite, and he and Levine did their "two Jimmies" thing again at final curtain calls. Robert Brubaker excelled as Mime, Wendy White gave a good mezzo-but-alas-not-contralto rendition of Erda, and the Unseens -- Tomlinson as Fafner and Lisette Oropesa as the Forest Bird -- were superb. Now curtain calls for the latter two, though.

Production note: Sitting were we are -- Family Circle, scrape-the-ceiling territory -- has its disadvantages. Couldn't see the Rainbow Bridge, for example. (!!) However, we had a great view of Fafner the Dragon, seen in this production as Jabba the Hutt's country cousin. From where we sat, his eyes blinked and his mouth moved, as his lines required. The speaker from which Sir John's awesome vocal portrayal emerged was placed right at the mouth. Bravo.

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