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Saturday, December 11, 2004
 
The Adelaide Die Wälkure

Of all the revues of the Adelaide Ring episodes, those for Die Walküre have been the most ecstatic. Deservedly so, but there’s still the final Götterdämmerung to come. The ‘Wunderbar’ scene, with the Valkyries relaxing after/before a hard day’s work, ferrying the souls of dead heroes to Valhalla, works extremely well. The Valkyries are all vocally well-assured and, if a few make their entrances from different parts of the auditorium, one can excuse the cliché. Brünnhilde (Lisa Gasteen) is the best I have seen: powerful without being shrill; her future in this role is assured as she repeats it round the World.

A number of reviewers have criticised one notable departure from the score’s directions: instead of pulling Nothung from a tree, where Wotan has (much) earlier driven it, Siegmund has to splash around for it in a pond. Such liberties are justifiable if they are valid either in a wider context or if they are sufficiently thought-provoking. (Mrs Trellis, my one and only reader, will recall my greeting two 2003 Glyndebourne scenes, from different operas, with approbation. Both involved the use of Guantanamo Bay-like orange overalls appropriately.) Could it be that the search for Nothung under water emphasises the similarity between Nothung and Excalibur? The Old Norse and English myths are so interchangeable that Siegmund’s grovelling for his sword in the pond could well be a hint that Nothung is the Excalibur cast into the lake by Sir Bedivere.


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