Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Royal Opera House, 22 December 2011
As a penetrating symbol of a social order so decisively male-centred that a woman can be given away as a competition prize, the codpiece has much to commend it. But like bare bewbs and live animals, codpieces have a tendency to dominate any scene they're in - which in this production is pretty much all of them. I suppose the comedy has to start somewhere.
With the first night behind them, Wolfgang Koch and Simon O'Neill gave more relaxed performances, though O'Neill continues with some irritating out-of-character fidgeting when he's not actually singing.
Koch was faultlessly engaging in the final act, for which he very audibly conserved his vocal and dramatic firepower. There's still no sign of wear or strain, but he's perhaps conscious of the fact there are four more shows to go.
The first night ended up as a bit of a headlong rush to the finish line - the big Wach auf just disappeared. Pappano introduced more detail into the third act this time, including a some much-needed pauses. A definite improvement.