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.

Popular on Variety

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

  • Donna Karran David Lynch Foundation

    Donna Karan, Mary-Louise Parker Honored at David Lynch Foundation's Women of Vision Awards

    Donna Karan, Mary-Louise Parker and Deborra-Lee Furness were celebrated for their charitable work at the David Lynch Foundation’s 2019 Women of Vision Awards. “We are all being guided to come together as one. There is so much chaos in the world right now,” Karan said, while accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual luncheon on [...]

  • Bill Hader

    Bill Hader, Greg Berlanti, Margie Cohn and Cindy Holland Inducted Into Variety Hall of Fame

    Variety’s annual Hall of Fame ceremony mixed comedy, gratitude and warmth at the annual awards ceremony Tuesday night at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Because the class of 2019 celebrates technical innovation and achievement across film, TV, digital, video games and music. The honorees — Greg Berlanti, Bill Hader, Cindy Holland, Dametra Johnson-Marletti, [...]

  • Billy Porter FNAA

    Billy Porter Explains Why Fashion 'Can and Should' Be Activism

    On Tuesday in New York City, a handful of fashion’s marquee names, including Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Steve Madden and Pete Nordstrom, and many of its muses, including Billy Porter, Lena Waithe, Adriana Lima and Paris Hilton, gathered to celebrate the annual Footwear News Achievement Awards — or, as it’s more colloquially dubbed, the “Shoe Oscars.” Activism and the potential for designers to spur [...]

  • Tiffany Haddish Black Mitzvah

    Barbra Streisand Gives Tiffany Haddish Star of David Necklace for Her 'Black Mitzvah'

    Tiffany Haddish rang in her 40th birthday Tuesday night by celebrating her black and Jewish heritage with a star-studded “Black Mitzvah” party. One of Haddish’s famous friends, Barbra Streisand, was noticeably absent from the festivities, but sent the comedian a special memento for the occasion. “She got me this beautiful Star of David,” Haddish told [...]

  • Kasi Lemmons

    'Harriet' Director Kasi Lemmons Weighs In on Julia Roberts Casting Controversy

    Eddie Murphy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nia Long and “Harriet” filmmaker Kasi Lemmons were honored for their contributions to the industry Monday night at the inaugural celebration of black cinema by the Critics Choice Association. And as the event, held at the Landmark Annex in Los Angeles, looked back on how far people of color have come [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content