I attended the February 17th, 2017 performance of Götterdämmerung at the Canadian Opera Company. The production stars Christine Goerke (Brünnhilde), Andreas Schager (Siegfried), Ain Anger (Hagen), Martin Gantner (Gunther). The production is conducted by the COC Music Director Johannes Debus, and is directed with Tim Albery with sets by Michael Levine. The lighting director was David Finn.
This is the third time the production has been staged by the COC, the first as part of the 2005-2006 season, and then part of the complete Ring staged in 2006. The set is essentially a large section of power lines with chairs and tables that were changed at different times in an attempt to show different scenes. By and large the set was a distraction and a concert performance would have been an improvement in my opinion. And I found the lighting to be either too dark (for example during the first scene of Act Two) or too bright.
The singers were the shining point of the performance. Ms. Goerke owns the role of Brünnhilde. We feel for Brünnhilde when she loses the ring to Gunther/Siegfried in the first act and when she realizes she has been duped by Siegfried in the second act. Her Immolation Scene was extremely tender and moving. This Brünnhilde truly loves Siegfried and ultimately learns to understand what she must do at the end.
Mr. Schager’s Siegfried is our fearless hero. He is totally happy being in love – at first with Brünnhilde and then with Gutrune – and is blissfully unaware of what is in store for him, even when the Rhinemaidens tell him that he will die later that same day.
Mr. Anger’s Hagen dripped evil from start to end. A tall man, he was easy to see standing around watching his plans taking fruition. This is Mr. Anger’s first performances as Hagan, yet it seemed like he had been singing the role for years.
Mr. Gantner’s Gunther was a man who honestly believed he was trying to do a good job, yet is easily led into Hagan’s schemes – and seems unaware that he is being used by Hagan until it is too late.
The orchestra, led by Maestro Debus, performed well for the most part. The funeral act in the Third Act was particularly moving.
All in all, this was a good performance, even if the set was a let down. The singing will certainly not let you down.
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