[Met Performance] CID:290330
Die Walküre {456} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 10/24/1987.

(Debuts: Pyramid Sellers, Penelope Daner, Gail Tremitiere, Joan Khara, Patricia McCaffrey
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
October 24, 1987 Matinee


DIE WALKÜRE {456}
Wagner-Wagner

Brünnhilde..............Hildegard Behrens
Siegmund................Gary Lakes
Sieglinde...............Jeannine Altmeyer
Wotan...................Hans Sotin
Fricka..................Gail Gilmore
Hunding.................Aage Haugland
Gerhilde................Pyramid Sellers [Debut]
Grimgerde...............Wendy Hillhouse
Helmwige................Penelope Daner [Debut]
Ortlinde................Gail Tremitiere [Debut]
Rossweisse..............Jacalyn Bower
Schwertleite............Joan Khara [Debut]
Siegrune................Diane Kesling
Waltraute...............Patricia McCaffrey [Debut]

Conductor...............James Levine

Production..............Otto Schenk
Staged by...............Phebe Berkowitz
Set designer............Günther Schneider-Siemssen
Costume designer........Rolf Langenfass
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler

Die Walküre received nine performances this season.

Review of Martin Mayer in Opera (UK)


The revival of last year's "Die Walküure" at the Metropolitan Opera on October 24 marked a significant advance on last year. As always, James Levine found more in a piece the second time round, especially in the long duets that end Acts 1 and 3, and I was also especially happy with the Act 1 prelude, bubbling with suppressed excitement. The orchestra played much better than it had in the "Rheingold," but still a tad below last year's standard in the brass and in the exposed higher positions on the cellos.

The biggest single change was Gary Lakes instead of Peter Hofmann as Siegmund, and the contrast was interesting. Lakes is an enormous Texan (with Aage Haugland as the perfect Hunding, Lakes and Jeannine Altmeyer on stage in Act 1, we had reason to believe that giants once walked the earth). He has only the faintest idea of physical or vocal characterization, but the voice is a handsome instrument, especially in the top half, clear but penetrating. Hofmann had the style and appearance down pat, and couldn't sing the piece at all. My own taste was for Lakes, because I don't really believe the dramaturgy of "Die Walküre" and because Hofmann made such really awful sounds, but I must say I wish we could have some combination of the two. The other major cast change was Hans Sotin rather than Simon Estes as Wotan. Sotin I thought sang very musically, but acted with less authority than Estes; neither is really quite big-voiced enough for the house.

Gail Gilmore's Fricka was free of the soap-opera gestures Otto Schenk had given Brigitte Fassbaender last year and had a certain dramatic integrity, but was still inadequate for the role. The Valkyries were vocally ill-matched and sounded shrewish, but at least they no longer rolled down the mountainside with glee, as they did last year. What made the evening, apart from Levine and the orchestra, was the work of the female leads. Altmeyer sang effulgently and was a joy to look at, even though she still has not conquered the nervous tics that wave her hands about while she sings. Hildegard Behrens, whose Brünnhilde when I heard it last year was vocally marginal, sang out with great confidence and authority and made beautiful sounds; it was a pleasure to hear so fine an artist in such splendid form.



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