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Wagner: Siegfried

01/07/2007
Classic FM Magazine (UK)
Michael Hayes
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Australian opera reaches new heights with the third part of its Ring Cycle.

The earlier instalments of this Adelaide Ring Cycle were very good. But this Siegfried is something else again – a performance that grows from quality beginnings into something special, as the huge span of Act 3 is sung and played in truly soaring style.

Underpinning every moment of this remarkable listening experience is Asher Fisch’s surely paced, hyper-alert conducting, and he gets a surging response from every department of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, which has some wonderful principal players in its ranks.

Tenor Gary Rideout is a personable and pleasingly musical Siegfried: his voice is not huge and it sometimes sounds stressed (whose doesn’t in this killer role?) but he saves it cannily during his marathon of heavy singing in Act 1’s “Forging Song”. The result is that, by the time he reaches the later stretches of Act 3, he’s still very much a genuine vocal match for the spunky and radiant Brünnhilde of soprano Lisa Gasteen – she does tend to rush things a bit, but hers is such a likeable interpretation that you easily forgive her. John Bröcheler’s Wanderer and Liane Keegan’s Erda also excel themselves: their opening scene in Act 3 really does make the kind of great waves it should.