You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


Retelling of the young Siegfried's falling, rising and ultimate triumph is a terrific show.

Siegfried - John Treleaven Brunnhilde - Linda Watson Mime - Graham Clark Wotan - Vitalij Kowaljow Alberich - Oleg Bayjak Woodbird - Stacey Tappan Erda - Jill Grove Fafner - Eric Halvarson

Having successfully accomplished the heroic strides toward manhood, the young Siegfried (John Treleaven) rests with his newfound Brunnhilde (Linda Watson) on her rock and its vista of the Rhine and the glints of its stolen gold. Fourteen hours of operatic time have passed, delightfully for the most part. Lovers have met and violently parted, a dragon’s death throes have watered the land, a Woodbird (Stacey Tappan) has inflamed the young hero with desire for a maiden asleep amid the flames, and now — in the third of the four episodes of Wagner’s towering sexual-mythological-historical-lyrical-exasperating retelling of his homeland’s defining artwork, is hotly inspired. The retelling of the young Siegfried’s coming, going, falling, rising and ultimate triumph is, at the least, a terrific show.

The triumph belongs in large estate to Achim Freyer, whose staging of his visual conception becomes a triumph of geometry, as much as anything. He has framed his story within a stage filled with lines and shapes, projected on surfaces of many curves and twists. As Siegfried proves his prowess by returning the Sword to its usable shape, illuminated rods and shapes come together as usable lines, and the Sword metamorphoses into a tool of action. Siegfried impales the dragon Fafner (Eric Halvarson) on it , and a roll of crimson paper unfurls to form a pool of dragon’s blood. Freyer’s feat has been to activate his stage designs into a kinetic masterwork comparable to Wagner’s triumph.

What we have here is a “Siegfried” without a Siegfried: Treleaven is an attractive chap, yellow hair all aglow, but with no color in the vocal delivery where it is most needed. Watson’s Brunnhilde is similarly encumbered; from her “Heil dir, Sonne!” the so-called love duet simply churns onward, with two uninteresting stage folk uninvolved in much of an artistic purpose. Their final clinch, in fact, bears amusing resemblance — in sight and in sound — to wedding-cake statuary.

This great musical drama, seldom heard in this region and never with so much personality in its stage presence, crash-lands from inadequate command in its crucial mechanism. Even Fafner the Dragon, the awaited moment in all “Siegfried” productions, is reduced here to Halvarson, booming out impressively through the PA system but visually reduced to an old codger in a bathrobe.

Some moments in “Siegfried” that have largely been regarded as dreary — the “20 Questions” scene between Wotan (Vitalij Kowaljow) and Mime (Graham Clark), here wreathed in wind and brass tone from James Conlon’s great Music Center orchestra — were truly beautiful this time thanks to the singing of Kowaljow (a solid, nicely schooled baritone) and Clark (an antic and delightful dwarf Mime).

Five hours pass: some magnificently illumed, some curiously misfit. If you know Freyer’s work from video — the DVDs of his Stuttgart “Freischutz” or of Unsuk Chin’s lovely “Alice in Wonderland” at the Munich Opera — you don’t need further endorsement of the scope, the sporadic magnificence of his work. Alas, there are other forces also at work here, not so benign.


Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; 3,098 seats;$260 top

Production: A Los Angeles Opera presentation of Richard Wagner's three-act music drama, part two of the cycle "Ring of the Nibelung." Directed by Achim Freyer.

Crew: Conductor, James Conlon; lighting, Freyer and Brian Gale; costumes, Freyer and Amanda Freyer. Opened and reviewed, Sept. 26, 2009, the first of six performances. Running time: 4 HOURS, 50 MIN.

Cast: Siegfried - John Treleaven Brunnhilde - Linda Watson Mime - Graham Clark Wotan - Vitalij Kowaljow Alberich - Oleg Bayjak Woodbird - Stacey Tappan Erda - Jill Grove Fafner - Eric Halvarson

More Scene

  • CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 19: Robert

    Robert Pattinson Helps HFPA Donate $500,000 to Refugee Organization at Cannes Event

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Association proved in Cannes Sunday night that the Golden Globes aren’t the only festive bash it can pull off each year. At the glamorous Nikki Beach party held in association with Participant Media, the HFPA donated $500,000 to international aid organization Help Refugees. Co-hosts Robert Pattinson and Helen Mirren along with Quentin [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Alexis Martin Woodall, Ryan

    Peabody Winners Talk Empowered Women and Social Justice Challenges on Red Carpet

    The theme on the red carpet at the 78th annual Peabody Awards? Empowering women. On Saturday, Peabody winners gathered at Cipriani Wall Street, and one of the hot topics on everyone’s mind was the wave of female empowerment spreading across the industry. From Peabody’s Career Achievement Award recipient Rita Moreno to shows like ‘Killing Eve’ [...]


    Cannes: Robert Pattinson, Shailene Woodley Attend Starry Vanity Fair Party

    It’s true what they say about Batman being a loner. On Saturday night, Robert Pattinson made his first public appearance since being cast as the new Dark Knight at this year’s Vanity Fair Party at the Cannes Film Festival. But while all the other A-list guests mingled and worked the crowd at the restaurant of [...]

  • Taron Egerton Cannes Film Festival 2019

    Taron Egerton Addresses ‘Rocketman’ Comparisons to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ Takes Subtle Jab at Bryan Singer

    Taron Egerton says that he’s flattered by comparisons between his Elton John musical “Rocketman” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” last year’s smash hit about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. “I’m proud that we’re mentioned in the same breath,” says Egerton, who plays John in the upcoming “Rocketman,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to a five-minute standing [...]

  • Ethan Hawke, Bobby Cannavale and Griffin

    BAM Gala Marks Leadership Change, Celebrates Brooklyn as 'Cultural Center of New York'

    Wednesday’s annual gala celebrating the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) served as a poignant moment of transition for the New York stalwart of contemporary performance. As long-time artistic director Joe Melillo, who along with Harvey Lichtenstein transformed BAM into a vanguard of progressive art, prepares to pass the torch to new leadership, gathered patrons and [...]

  • Dua Lipa Tom Jones

    Dua Lipa and Tom Jones to Perform at amfAR's Cannes Gala (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety‘s Marc Malkin is on the scene at the Cannes Film Festival. Get the scoop on all the news, parties and more straight from the Croisette below. AmfAR’s upcoming Cannes gala is shaping up quite nicely. Sources tell Variety that the evening will feature performances by Dua Lipa and Tom Jones. And they’re not the only [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content