11 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!!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Jose M Suarez M
- Published on Amazon.com
It is always hard to make a teenager sit through his/hers first Wagner opera. Although somehow distracting from the splendid orchestra and Mehta's conducting, this DVD offers a fresh take on probably the most difficult to rehearse of the four Ring's operas. My daughters achieved their longest ever take at Wagner with this DVD: almost two acts. Way to go.
La Fura's staging is, well, different. The continuous movement and action surrounding the singers is a show in itself. Video projections on huge moving screens play a big role. Many bright ideas of the stage director accompany the story fairly well : the heads of the Wanderer and Mime sitting around, the human beasts around Fafner's cave, a real ring of fire at Brunnhilde`'s Rock. Maybe the best is the impressive start ot the third act witht the encounter of Wotan and Erda, and the worst the ridiculous crowd walking around as Notung is re-melted and forged at the end of act 1.
The musicians are up to the task. I would highlight Mehta's conducting and Ryan's convincing Siegfried.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Is it possible to cast Siegfried without a tenor who hasn't the voice, stamina, and imagination all in equal quantities? Alas Valencia have stubbed their collective toes in the casting of Lance Ryan as the titular hero of the third installment. More's the pity since he really looks right for the role.
I certainly wouldn't want to go back to the bad old days when a decidedly middle-aged man dressed in a bear/animal skin and over-weight to boot, but at least Melchior had the voice the stamina and the imagination to "sing" a Siegfried. Three recent (relatively) DVD's of the opera reveal that it is possible to cast this role and not have to make any apologies: Manfred Jung (Boulez/Cheareau) has been pilloried for his performance. True, the voice is hardly to be described as beautiful, but the emission of tone is even, there is no wobble (something Ryan already possesses) his diction is clear and he displays considerable committment. Siegfired Jerusalen (Kupfer/Barenboim) is a lyrical Siegfried, the voice is beautiful and while it isn't heroic in the ususal sense of the word, it is sufficiently virile to fulfill the requirements of the role. Of course it is true that both these performances were taped an act at a time which it all to the good of the listener since the singer is not put to the throes of a second and third act to deal with. And lastly the Copenhagen Ring: Stig Anderson. The tapings of these performances were that last for this production and previously the Siegmund was sung by Poul Elming. Elming became sick and Anderson leaped into the breech much as Windgassen had to at Bayreuth. Anderson also did a Ring series at the Met in the 90's, I believe. To the best of my knowledge he was not asked back. Well he is a hero in in own land and a theatre that is far more accommodating than the gargantuan Met. The production features costumes that would not be out of place on the street of any western city today. The costume for Ryan is designed for a pre history period with tatoos, rastafarian locks and he looks great as well. But Anderson's voice and performance will make me reach for the Copenhagen set (I could say the same for Boulez and Barenboim) and pause fondly over the Valencia production. Indeed if I were casting Siegfried today I would choose Robert Dean Smith or Stig Anderson. The former is younger and I do not know whether or not he even sings the role. Anderson like the earlier Dane has the stamina and the voice. If not the most romantic Siegfried he should be considered a national treasure by his countrymen.
The production as a whole carries on in much the same manner as the two previous installments except I was disappointed with the battle with the dragon. I would have assumed that this would have been more imaginatively handled, but it is no more convincing that previous sets. Hardly a deal breaker, but still....
Jennifer Wilson's Brunhilde was a thing of swings and roundabouts. I expected a more heroic sound after the wonderful opening. I began to wonder if the engineers were fiddling with too many dials. Thank God the breast plate was finally removed along with head gear.
Lastly (but certainly not leastly) the orchestra is magnificent. They have been performaning these operas now for several years, and with Mehta's conducting always alert and involved they constitute a thrilling experience even when the singing is not up to what has gone before.
This weekend Gotterdammerung.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Ivor E. Zetler
- Published on Amazon.com
Having previously enthused about the DVDs featuring Rheingold, Walkure and Gotterdammerung, I am sad to report that I have found this version of Siegfried to be relatively disappointing.
The production: As with the other operas there is much business with the back projection. On occasions the images were appropriate to the action, at other times they seemed purely decorative. I cannot understand the reason for the participation of a line of extras mimicing Siegfried's actions during the forging scene. Additionally the almost mechanical forest scene looked quite unattractive and the articulated dragon was a bit of a flop.
The singing:Lance Ryan in the all important part of Siegfried has a steady and strong voice but his tone is somewhat unatractive and lacks the glowing radiance that is found in the great exponents of the role. The rest of the cast are very good with excellent performances from Wotan (Juha Uustalo) and Brunnhilde (Jennifer Wilson).
The conducting: Zubin Mehta seems to elicit less inspired orchestral playing than in the other 3 operas. This impression may be partly due to the more distant and less well balanced recording quality.
The filming quality is again excellent. In summary, this DVD is worth watching but the ultimate experience is less satisfying than I found with the other 3 parts of this Ring cycle.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
(This is a review of the whole ring; not just Siegfried, but Amazon hasn't listed it as a set).
Apart from a few lovely voices, this production has nothing to recommend it; absolutely rock-bottom more-is-more Eurotrash, only a fraction above Katerina's Meistersinger in sheer wrong-headed ineptness.
Let's start with the stage production: The back projections were a distraction, as were the giants' exoskeletons, the rheinmaidens' aquaria, the hideous costumes (from the house of Harrison Bergeron, I imagine), and who could forget Loge on a Segway. The flying acrobats from 'La Fura dels Baus' lent nothing to the opera. On the contrary, after a few minutes of watching an already cluttered stage fill with squirming bodies in leotards, I began hoping that one of the singers would accidentally kick one of them. The 'making of' film showed them outside the opera house. Perhaps they should have stayed there.
The television production was sub-par. I suppose Brian Large has spoiled us, but the jump-cuts during some of the solos were intensely irritating. Tiziano Mancini, please try harder next time. Just a Wagnerite's opinion, but showing the orchestra during the scene changes isn't quite what der Meister intended, methinks.
The orchestra was excellent, but Mehta's conducting was totally lacking in fire. Doesn't he like Wagner?
Performances? Well, some were very good, most mediocre, and some awful.
Ryan's Siegfried was awful; shouting does not make a heldentenor. There was no evidence to suggest that this was caused by fatigue - he did it right from the start.
Uusitalo's Wotan lacked presence, though his Wanderer struck a cord. We saw his excellent portrayal of Hollander at the Met. Perhaps his persona matches Weltschmertz.
Gerhard Siegel's Mime is curiously sympathetic, in a clear carry-over from his Bayreuth performance.
Jennifer Wilson's voice is better than average for Brunnhilde (these days), but Mehta's direction stifled any attempt at greatness.
Ralf Lukas' Gunter was excellent, bringing unusual depth to the role. He should go far, and hopefully next time he won't be covered with white paint and Japanese characters.
Which leaves Matti Salminen - the only reason why I gave this train-wreck two stars. There he stands, completely unrecognizable in face paint (including the Yen symbol on his forehead), belting out Hagen, and leaving the rest behind. Bravo! A splendid performance!
The obligatory 'making of' track, which shows the beauty of the Valencia opera house, and the cynicism/ineptitude of the folks who inhabit it.
If you want to see good Eurotrash, try the Copenhagen Ring - not this.