Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cleveland Orchestra: Wagner's Valkyrie (at Blossom Music Center)

Wagner: Prelude and Love-Death from Tristan and Isolde (Christine Brewer, soprano)
Wagner: Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music from Die Walkure (Alan Held, bass-baratone)
Wagner: Orchestral Selections from Brunnhilde's Immolationfrom Gotterdammerung
Franx Welser-Most, conductor.

I spent the day in Akron working -- I think the first Saturday I've actually worked (as opposed to travel-for-worked) in my career, but my client's client had unique scheduling demands. I made it out of the World Headquarters and to Blossom in the nick of time, but I don't think I ever really settled in. I'm not sure if it is a result of not being settled or not, but as a whole the concert felt distant. Under Mr. Welser-Most's baton this evening, I felt as if the orchestra was overly restrained -- the orchestral equivalent of the 6-foot-leash holding back a pitbull. 

 Though the orchestra was restrained, both soloists seemed easily overpowered, for better or worse [what can I say, I like the music, but I'm not a fan of many opera singers] at times. My favorite moments from the program were those that were purely orchestral. The musical space (filled in by chirping birds, and if I'm not mistaken, a hooting owl) and romance tinged by tragedy in the Prelude and Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey / Sigfried's Death and Funeral Music from Gotterdammerung. The sung passages, it was fair to say I was ambivalent about -- soothing and enjoyable but not really memorable or provoking.


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