12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
L. Orriols Arocas
- Published on Amazon.com
I don't agree with the previous review about Lance Ryan.
I was there, in Valencia. I attended to the performance. I went twice. I could see Lance Ryan live. He "was" Siegfried.
Maybe he is not the best heldentenor, but Siegfried is an exhausting role, a role that requires a physical strength and a stamina very difficult to reach. Maybe Ryan hasn't the most beautiful voice, but he is, from the beginning to the end of the performance, full of energy, he doesn't shrink back, and in the final duet he is as fresh as at the start. He manages to prevail over the orchestra, he sings without apparent effort. The role is a real threat, and Ryan, very young, a singer at the beginning of his career, assumes it unhesitatingly.
Also, he's quite athletic and good looking, which always helps.
I think that, for this role, stamina and control are more important than a "beautiful" voice (many heldentenors didn't have beautiful voices; Vickers, for example). Ryan sings with vigour and intensity, with self-confidence and authority, he acts properly, he can jump and leap like a boy. He's a very credible Siegfried. A great Siegfried.
In my opinion, Ryan in the lead role of this third part of Wagner's tetralogy is very fine indeed. Ryan as Siegfried is truly excellent.
The first act is sensational, specially when he forges Nothung, the magic sword. Ryan seems to have given everything in this first act, but he will keep the same strength until the end. In the second act he finds heartfelt and soft sounds. In the second and above all in the third act he displays exceptional high notes, a full-blooming tenor voice.
He can be lyric when he sings the questions of his mother, powerful in the forging and challenging in the confrontation with the wanderer. The forest scene is brilliant. In "I here, shall learn how to fear?" he is great.
He organizes his strengths so that for the strenuous finale duet, he still has enough resources. He finds plenty of heft for the final-act duet with Brünnhilde. In "Brünnhilde, heilige Braut", he shows how enormous these reserves are. After such a power-sapping role, it's stunning he still has such tones to offer.
Ryan as the title-hero seems to have nor self-doubt neither fear. He masters his part with musical fearlessness, with real authority. He has extraordinary resources, a great potential. In this gigantic, ambitious heldenrole, Ryan is an uncommonly resistant, powerful Siegfried until the last note.
Lance Ryan is so natural a Siegfried that it is fascinating. He sings without effort, with a powerful voice which leaves everything behind it. He never appears to get tired so the listener can relax, you don't have to wonder if he will get through the role. This is a delight.
He sings easy and secure in the upper register and powerfully steely in timber. His tone is steady, but at the same time he seems to discover all the time new shades of his voice.
It is a pleasing voice, a slender and intensive tenor voice, fine, solid and metallic, bright and natural, commandingly powerful. A voice that comes through extremely well, and that is overwhelming.
He has musical artistry and a extrordinary vocal capacity.
He is not a "classic" heldentenor, but nowadays are there any of them?
In his performance everything fits perfectly:
His acting is good. His body language works. He's totally engaged in the character.
It helps that he looks young and somehow guileless, a "child of nature", which is how Siegfried is supposed to be, and this is something difficult to find.
He has a powerful stage presence. He's dynamic, agile and sympathetic.
He can convey the development of the hero. In fact, he constructs a hero. At all moments he masters over his role, and he displays the many lyric sides of the hero.
I think Ryan is a great Wagner tenor. And Siegfried is "his" role.
In my opinion, he is, maybe, one of the most convincing Siegfrieds of our time, as if he was made for the role. It is, I believe, on of the best Siegfried that I have heard. Perhaps there is no present-day Siegfried who can equal him. In spite of possible weak spots, this is my favourite Siegfried.
In short: An extrordinary performance. (Well, I do like it).
If somethig is not well expressed, excuse me. I would explain it much better in Spanish!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Mr. John A. Coulson
- Published on Amazon.com
Friends came over last night and we tackled this 3rd Ring 4 3/4 hour Wagner opera. Maybe I was less receptive and too tired, but I found it VERY long and it did not engross me as much as the previous two in the cycle. We all felt the background efforts in Act 2 were overdone and distracting and certainly did not project an image of a tranquil forest scene.
But we remained impressed by the brilliant singing of the part of Wotan by Juha Uusitalo and the good effort of Lance Ryan in the very long and exhausting role of Siegfried. Then there is Jennifer Wilson who thankfully took off the ugly enormous breast plate early in the piece. Her singing is rivetting and very powerful although it was hard to see how she appeared so sexy to Siegfried but I'm getting picky. The singing and acting is what opera is about and she performed the Wagnerian role brilliantly.
Overall no, it was not as enjoyable for me as the first two in the cycle and there remain puzzlement at the symbolism of shadowy bods sweeping the floor and writhing on the floor with some of the background confusing and distracting. So do I recommend it? I guess the answer is yes if you want a consistent set of all the ring operas, but no if you expect "Siegfied" to be as good as the first two.
Viewing the final Ring opera will have to wait quite a few weeks until we can get together again. But at least we are at home in comfortable lounge chairs where we can enjoy the superb audio & video of Blu Ray at our leisure. No doubt attending live performances of The Ring would be unique experiences but I'll opt for home viewing when dealing with operas as long as these.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An opera lover
- Published on Amazon.com
When I purchased this blu ray, I already had the other 3 operas. Disappointment is a strong word but all I can say is that Siegried is not in the same league if you compare with the other operas in this Valencia cycle. My complaints are not related to the singers. I think Lance Ryan is a good Siegfried, not the the best I have heard (Siegfried Jerusalem in Barenboim's cycle is much better, not to speak abaout singers from other times, such as Wolfgang Windgassen). Both Jennifer Wilson and Juha Uusitalo are splendid. Only Gerhard Siegel has brought some disappointment, specially when I compare his Mime with the one played by Graham Clark for Barenboim. Mime, in Siegel's performance, has lost some of its comic side that Clark brings to life so splendidly. Maybe the weakest point in this Siegfried is Mehta's conducting. I am not sure that it is his fault or the recording engineers' but I felt that in many moments, mainly in the 1st act, the orchestra sounds pale, low, distant, very different from what you hear in the other operas of this Valencia cycle, when the orchestra really shines. Even so, the Valencia cycle is the best choice for the Ring in blu ray. Excellent image quality.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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Rheingold got this Spanish Ring off to a fantastic start which must have sent the traditional Ring Meister, the Germans, running for cover! Although the following operas are far more static, so far the follow on has been pretty good if not perhaps quite as jaw dropping. The singing is universally excellent and the orchestral playing and direction, aided by a fantastic recording is very good. Mehta is no Solti but his team play with great enthusiasm. The casting is generally very good. Uusitalo is amazing. Where do the Finns find these phenominal singing giants? Talvela, Salminen and now the mighty Uusitalo! Lance Ryan is a real find too. At last a hero that looks like a hero and can act and sing to boot. I wish I could be as positive about Jennifer Wilson as Brünnhilde. Her massive physique may be ideal for carrying dead heros but a virginal bride for Siegfried she is not. Back in the days of Hildegard Behrens I hoped that we might be moving away from Wagnerian sopranos who could give Sonny Liston a run for his money but this has sadly proved not to be the case. With the arrival of Blu ray I feel more effort must be made to make the visual casting more fitting. Other operas have done very well and as Behrens showed, glamour and Wagner are not incompatible.
The special effects in Siegfried are not as spectacular as Rheingold and much of the opera has a greenish hue that appears to slightly reduce definition. Some effects such as the opening of Act 3 and the dragon scene are very well done and overall it is about on a par with Die Walküre. Again I do not care for the English subtitles. Pompous and hard to follow. We really need a new edition so we can more easily follow the story and concentrate on the visual and audio side.
Despite my reservations this is still a fine set and a giant leap forward in the way Wagner is presented. Things will never be the same again. Wolfgang Wagner always said it would only be in the second year that a new Bayreuth production would begin to shine and there is plenty to tweak and polish here too, for example the opening scene and Erda's scene are disrupted by constant flashing, some of it off the moving "textle mills" in the background. Overall this is the best Ring on disc at the present time but more importantly it has opened a new approach that can only lead to more amazing productions in the future. Mad Ludwig and Wagner would be delighted with such a trend.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This staging of Siegfried by Fura Dels Bausto owes much of its success to the consistently high standard of singing and orchestral playing throughout. The musical values of the singers in this production can only be described as outstanding and, in my opinion, there is not a weak point to be noted anywhere in this regard. It therefore seems to me that it would be invidious to single out particular performers for particular praise in this review. Sufficient to comment that the remarkably consistent high quality achieved in the previous issues in this cycle are fully maintained in this latest issue.
The use of high quality projected backdrops to create scenarios or to imply long journeys, such as the descent from and return to the world of the Gods, are also very impressive and surely an advance in technology that would appeal to Wagner himself. This sense of realism would be hard to match in any `normal' stage production without using this modern technology.
The use of mechanical hoists to move the Gods about on raised platforms by on-stage scenery movers during the singing and as mentioned at the beginning of this review are, for me, the most invasive parts to my enjoyment of this production. However, I have found that upon repeated viewing, one adjusts and accepts the concept given the wealth of virtues otherwise present.
The camera work and imaging are both of a very high standard as one would expect from an HD recording and the same can be said of the sound which is frequently spectacular. The sound is presented in DTS 7.1 and stereo. There is also a 27 minute bonus feature that focuses on the making of this episode of the Ring.
A most enjoyable production overall therefore, but not, in my opinion, sufficient to entirely replace the Barenboim/Kupfer version on DVD complete with bleeding colours at all points of fast movement (and there are many)which still reigns supreme. Buy both if you can. The differences between the two are such that this is musically justifiable even if financially stretching!
Despite my preference for the earlier Barenboim version therefore, I still feel that this is well-worth the full 5 stars as such a preference may be more of a personal response. Both versions are equally worthy of 5 stars on any even-handed basis and we can be grateful that such a high quality choice has been put before us.