‘Siegfried’ for the brave at the Royal Theater

The audience at the Teatro Real had their annual Wagner ration last night with the premiere of Siegfried , the third episode of the tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung , in which the hero, the new man, that innocent and ignorant young man, appears capable of slaying the dragon and crossing walls of fire for the simple reason that he does not know fear … until he falls in love with Brünnhilde and is discovered vulnerable.

The five hours of opera – which lasted longer than the surgical mask – actually passed as a sigh for most of the audience, who responded with exultation with a final six-minute applause. “A year waiting for it to be short now,” said a fan of the genre at the end of the opera. And in this success the orchestral direction of Pablo Heras-Casado had a lot to do with it, who constantly looking for detail breathed life into the work, relieving it of all aridity.

The audience dedicates six minutes of applause and cheers to Schager, who finished the opera as fresh as at the beginning

The Andalusian teacher, who just took the opportunity to study this score when, convalescing from the coronavirus, locked himself up last spring at his home in Granada, dedicated himself yesterday to making the colors of each instrument distinguish between that sound density that Wagner pursues. And his idea of ​​distributing the hundred musicians also outside the pit –to maintain safety distances– had its positive effect of “surround sound”, including the appearance of the soprano Leonor Bonilla playing the Bird of the Forest from the 3rd or 4th floor From the living room. However, the brass in the boxes to the right of the stage at times opted for the spectacular stereo.

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The tenor Andreas Schager (Siegfried) during the rehearsal of the play “Siegfried”, by Richard Wagner, with stage direction by Robert Carsen, and scenery and costumes by Patrick Kinmonth

Javier del Real

The biggest ovation of the respectable was taken by the protagonist, the incombustible Austrian tenor Andreas Schager, who five hours later seemed the same or cooler than at the beginning, so it was expected that he would make the same joke to the opening night audience. he spent the orchestra at the end of the pre-general rehearsal, when he shouted a jovial “Da capo!” (start over from the beginning). There were also braves for the bass-baritone Tomasz Konieczny, resounding in the role of Wotan (the pedestrian).

Yesterday’s premiere was another giant step for Real on the road to pandemic normality. “It is very difficult to keep the theater active, but it is not impossible, and the option to cancel must be the last to be considered.” This is the mantra with which Joan Matabosch has stunned the international operatic community.

Birgit Meyer, the director of the Cologne Opera, owner of this production by Robert Carsen’s stage teacher and which was already enjoyed at the Liceu in 2015, wished Matabosch luck in a video, regretting not having been able to travel to Madrid but congratulating him on “being the real hero.” And it is that which Siegfried without fear, the artistic director of the Madrid coliseum poses impossible that he himself uses thoroughly to solve.

Faced with the pandemic

Musicians from the Royal Orchestra defended the orchestral solution for this Wagner to questions from the BBC in London

And factors such as the architecture of the theater, with large rehearsal rooms, and the predisposition of the musicians, who yesterday, to questions from the BBC in London, defended the theater’s orchestral solution to maintain the hundred lecterns. And the very institution chaired by Gregorio Marañón also contributes, who yesterday received the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya. The minister went along with the Korean ambassador – an impressive Korean bass Jongmin Park in the role of Fafner – to congratulate the artists. And he chatted with Carsen for a few minutes.

Its staging, with a Siegfried surrounded by kilos of scrap metal and felled trees, makes more sense the more the gap between the laws of nature and the laws of human beings, always blinded by the longing for power, widens. Wagner predicted it: we will never be able to understand what nature gives us.

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