Thursday, June 02, 2011

Mrs. B on Wagner

Ms. Buce betook herself to the Palookaville multiplex last night for the Met HD of Wagner's Die Walküre.  I gave it a bye.  I say I do Wagner only as a condition of my probation although that is somewhat exaggerated: I've done a few Wagner operas in my day that I kinda sorta more or less liked but the Met promised (warned of?) five and a half hours and that struck me as a leitmotif too far.

So, how was it?

Oh, it was okay, she said.  Great singers.  Jonas Kaufmann was wonderful.  He can really handle the German vowels, she said.

But once you think about it, you realize Wagner just isn't as interesting as the Greeks.  They sing and they sing and they sing and they just don't add anything.  Just not complex.  

She's got a point there, I think: one of the many virtues of Verdi is that the characters are complex.

And the libretto: funny, Wagner insisted on doing his own libretti.  But when you think of the great librettists, you  don't think Wagner.  Just okay.

So, Jonas Kaufmann it is, I think.  She also took some Tylenol, and, I think, Ibuprophine.  And right now she's on the floor stretching the hamstrings.  Wagner doesn't come cheap.


Ken Houghton said...

What's the difference between Tannhauser on the peak and Burnhilda in the pit and Brunhilda on the peak and Tannhauser in the pit?

About 2.5 hours.

Wagner begs for multimedia; see Syberbeg's Parsifal. ("Not so bad as it sounds" also has more than a bit of truth to it. I'd rather watch Glass's Akhnaten than most of those horrible Zeffirelli Met stagings, where all the money goes into the set and you find yourself thinking the music is the same because nothing ever moves. (He did a production of, iirc, Don Juan several years ago where the stage looked like a large intestine.)

Otoh, if you get a chance to see the Met's old production of Shostakovich's Lady MacBeth of Mitensk (with the late Dom Deluise cameoing), don't miss it.

Buce said...

Ebert's rule of movies: if they have more than two marquee stars, you know they couldn't afford a script.