Die Walküre - Mariinsky Opera - Royal Opera House, 30 July 2009
Things are looking up. Part two of the Mariinsky's Ring Cycle was a definite improvement on the previous night. Like swine flu is better than TB, that is. Still tosh, but evidently planned and rehearsed a little more than Das Rheingold. Performers looked less lost, there were fewer obvious mishaps, and the action was generally a lot more credible.
Gergiev had a patchy night. He wasn't able to maintain the febrile energy he brought to the first act prelude, but the playing did occasionally catch fire later in spite of sluggish tempos and a generally underweight sound.
Larissa Diadkova sang much more incisively than the previous night and made a commanding Fricka. It was the only truly world-class performance of the evening. Olga Savova was a shrill (if largely accurate) Brünnhilde, Mikhail Kit's Wotan was expressive but worn, and skipped text, Mlada Khudoley's Sieglinde was hysterically overplayed and Avgust Amonov's wildly variable Siegmund missed more notes than he hit (and his tone narrowed to a costive bleat even then). When one of the Valkyries skipped an entire line, it was par for the course.
The monumental coprolites were again in place all night as the only scenery - so why we needed over two hours of intervals is beyond me. It made a long night even longer.
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