qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Mein Kampf

As far as I am aware, Proms merchandise does not extend to hoodies; but some seasons they have had rather nice T-shirts, and at least one is advertising a brand one believes in. Nevertheless, it did take me a little by surprise to be engaged in conversation on the train on Sunday morning by a man sporting an impressive walrus moustache (I wouldn't have been surprised additionally if he had claimed to have known Sir Henry Wood personally). "Are you coming up for Siegfried, then?" Yes. "Ah. Do you have tickets, or are you going to queue?" kharin and I were going to queue. "Hmm. It'll be a long day. I'm going to listen to it on the radio". (I suppose full surrealist value would have been obtained if he had said wireless, telegraph, or possibly listen again on broadband.)

Perhaps Siegfried is the problem middle child in Wagner's Ring cycle: the queue wasn't that long - much shorter than for last year's Die Walküre, despite being scheduled for a weekend slot, and when we got inside some upper sections of the hall were essentially empty. The arena wasn't full, though of course the people that were there did have momentum towards the front of the hall.

We'd broken the monotony of the queue by attending John Deathridge's Pre-Prom Talk, the first time I've been to one of those. The combination of that and the synopsis in the programme gave a pretty clear statement of what to expect, which made the performance under the baton of Jean-Luc PicardCristoph Eschenbach straightforward enough to follow. Although it's a little longer than Die Walküre, there seems to be more action - though it does seem drawn out toward the conclusion as Siegfried rescues Brünnhilde. Jon Frederic West was perhaps not the picture of youthful hero one might expect for the role, but he could certainly sing it.

The Ring is not without humour: in particular, in Act II, the brothers Alberich and Mime bicker over the treasure guarded by the dragon Fafner, and the ring itself. Perhaps the humour was a little overplayed, though, in the passages leading up to Siegfried's murder of Mime, who has brought him up and cared for him as requested by the dying Sieglinde. The concluding duet between Siegfried and Brünnhilde is bizarre, rejoicing in the destruction they are about to bring upon themselves.

It's a struggle standing for 90 minutes at a time; God knows how I will manage for Götterdämmerung next year.
Tags: music
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