By Richard Wagner
The Lowry, 6 July 2013
Now we are given the story of Siegfried, a hero who doesn’t seem to know his own strength.
He is like the Incredible Hulk in that respect; and he also has the Hulk’s innate naivety and the emotional vulnerability that goes along with it. And the taste of blood gives him superpowers: an ability to understand forest animals and fly with the birds of the wood. And we’ve yet to consider the powers conferred by the possession of a magical (incisive, thrusting: hey, hey) sword. Siegfried is the template for any superhero you might think of.
You soon catch on to the convention of the staging here, such as that when the singers face forward they’re looking at each other, and are responding accordingly. It makes for a spare, pared-back, compelling telling of Wagner’s great epic, this being the penultimate instalment. There’s the music, the song and the drama; and nothing else to get in the way. The old order is in crisis, it’s a colossus that is about to crumble.
This Opera North production does full justice to the grandeur of Wagner’s vision and Siegfried is next showing at Leeds Town Hall on 13 July. Further details can be found here.