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Coming to an end with Götterdämmerung (Royal Opera)

The three norns in the prologue were fantastic - who told the "story so far" with mysticism and conviction. The opening love duet between Siegfried (John Treleaven) and Brünnhilde (Lisa Gasteen) was almost good as both were fresh voiced at the start of the opera. Kurt Rydl's Hagen had bite and evil - perfect for the character. Gunther (Peter Coleman-Wright) and Gutrune (Emily Magee) were good as supporting characters. The chorus was a much welcome addition to Act II with the wedding procession. The whole thing dipped a bit in the second half of Act II and the beginning of Act III - was it the pitch of the tempi, the poor string ensemble in the orchestra or the wayward brass section? The audience laughed at the horrendous entry of the horns at the beginning of Act III - I guess it was a funny way to say "you have had a long evening, but don't relax too much". The whole cast rose to the challenge for this final act of the last opera in the Ring. Lisa Gasteen's voice finally shone through as she could afford to risk it all on the last night. Pappano gave the closing few bars of music enough breathing space to allow the dramatic tension to dissipate nicely. He brought the entire orchestra onto the stage - and it justly received an ovation from the audience. John Tomlinson also made it to the curtain call (he was originally down to sing Hagen, but had to take over the role of Wotan / Wanderer when Bryn Terfel pulled out) - he duly got a huge round of applause.

So, the end of this ring cycle at the Royal Opera. I guess it will be 2015 when it will be staged again - perhaps Bryn Terfel will revisit the role of Wotan, may be Jose Cura will give Siegmund a go, Renee Fleming as Gutrune, Janice Watson as Brünnhilde? But there had better be a new crop of helden-tenors to rise to the challenging role of Siegfried. Perhaps someone should start a school for training would be helden-tenors!!!


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