|Siegfried (Manfred Jung) hooks up with Gutrune |
(Jeanine Altmeyer) in Act II of Götterdämmerung.
Photo © 1979 Bayreuth Festival
The biggest problem with this Götterdämmerung is Manfred Jung as Siegfried. While he managed in the first opera, its sequel finds the singer completely out of his depth. He doesn't even attempt the two most difficult moments in the score. One is the passage at the end of Act I where Siegfried, (disguised as Gunther) must pretend to be a baritone, singing a full octave below his range.
The other is in Act II, when he sings a full octave leap on a sixteenth note. (This often makes Siegfrieds sound like they are strangling cats instead of killing dragons.) Considering that this performance was done for posterity in front of an empty Bayreuth Festspielhaus, the absence of these difficult moments is inexcusable.
The Gibichungs are also weak. Fritz Hüber lacks the low, menacing bass notes required to sing Hagen, and he shouts himself hoarse in the second act. Franz Mazura looks corrupt as Gunther, and gives a convincing portrait of the King as a twisted old man desperate to marry. Jeanine Altmeyer, who sang Sieglinde earlier in this cycle, is a strong Gutrune. One wonders if the casting of the same actress who played Siegfried's mother was an innovative Oedipal twist on the part of the director.
|Siegfried gets killed by Hagen (Fritz Hübner) in Götterdämmerung.|
Hagen summons the Gibichung vassals in Act II of GötterdämmerungAll photos and video © 1979 Unitel/Deutsche Grammophon.