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The Official Podcast Page of Wagneroperas.com

Aug 4, 2006

 At this year's Bayreuth Festival, one thing is certain: the new production of the Ring is receiving standing ovations thanks to the vision of director Tankred Dorst, the incredible conducting of Christian Thielemann, who leaves no doubt that he is one of the great Wagnerians of our times, and the amazing singing of Adrianne Pieczonka as Sieglinde. In this presentation of excerpts from Die Walküre you will also hear Endrik Wottrich as Siegmund, Linda Watson as Brünnhilde, and Falk Struckmann as Wotan.


dmitchell
over eleven years ago

Let me add that I think the overall sound of the orchestra is amazing, with a crystal clarity unmatched by any other recording of Wagner that I\'ve heard. Setting the issue of tempo aside, Thielemann has achieved something very, very fine here.

Paulo
over ten years ago

I must agree with Dmitchell about Sieglinde\\\'s scream after Siegmund\\\'s \\\"Notung\\\". As for Wottrich, his voice seems to me too effortful and unclear.

Thanks for your podcasts.

Paulo
over ten years ago

And I hope that Struckmann was only tired. Otherwise I like his voice and interpretations, notably as Gurnemanz.

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over seven years ago

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dmitchell
over eleven years ago

Thank you for the podcasts, I\'ve heard them all and enjoyed each one immensely.

I must disagree with your characterization of Thielemann\'s conducting as \"incredible.\" The orchestra certainly has a lush, detailed sound, but the frequent and unnecessary changes in tempo are annoying. I think it important that a conductor imparts a sense of constant forward momentum to Wagner, with Bohm and Boulez being good examples. Thielemann\'s ever-changing tempo just drains the energy from the music; frankly, I\'d rather listen to the ponderous conducting of someone like Levine. Strangely, I don\'t remember noticing this tendency while listening to the Rhinegold excerpts.

On the other hand, I strongly agree with your opinion of Pieczonka as Sieglinde. I could have done without the \"scream\" when Siegmund draws Notung from the ash, but, all things considered, her performance was very, very strong. I also like Watson\'s Brunnhilde. Struckmann was OK, but seemed to have trouble with the high notes. He really stumbled on \"du lachende Lust meines Auges,\" but he may have simply been exhausted at that point. Your criticism of Wottrich was exactly right, but saying he\'s only singing because of his relationship to Wolfgang\'s daughter was a low blow. (I\'ve read Spotts\' history of Bayreuth, however, and I must admit that such a thing seems all too possible.)

Thanks again for the wonderful podcasts. I\'m eagerly awaiting the next one.

D.

dmitchell
over eleven years ago

Could it be that you prefer slower tempi and tend to notice the accelerations, while I prefer quicker tempi and therefore tend to notice the decelerations? To me it seemed like Thielemann was \"putting the brakes on,\" resisting the music\'s natural forward impulse.

For example, play 6:30 through 7:10. At 6:35, when Siegmund sings \"HeiB in der Brust\" a long series of short orchestral strokes begins and lasts through \"und warst du entehrt\" at 6:56. These strokes have the effect of gradually lifting the music towards a climax that should occur at \"Auf lach ich in heiliger Lust\" as the music crescendoes. Unfortunately, Thielemann inexplicably chooses to slow the tempo at this point, sapping away the accumulated momentum and nearly turning the climax into an anti-climax. He then immediately reverts to the quicker tempo, and I\'m left feeling as though the climax has been stolen from me.

All of this is just one man\'s opinion, of course.