Siegfried's in town

Finally, it’s the day of the first performance. I’m very excited about this opening night. Yes, I usually look forward to opening nights but this one is one that has me excited in different ways. Of all the Ring operas, it took me the longest amount of time to warm up to “Siegfried”. Finally, beginning in 2009, and after many run-ins with the Ring, I started to find the genius and greatness of this wonderful score. It is interesting that there are never more than two people singing on stage at a time in this opera. It is a piece full of conversations. There are technical challenges galore: Forging the sword, Nothung, having the giant, Fafner, appear, a flying (and singing) bird, a woman surrounded by fire and a brave hero finding his way through the flames to awaken her. And, of course, the biggest challenge, making your way vocally through this gigantic wall of sound that Wagner has provided and through a nearly 5.5 hour masterpiece. It’s a long night, to be sure. Only Siegfried and Der Wanderer (Wotan), which is my role, sing in all 3 Acts. For any tenor, the role of Siegfried is one of the most difficult in all operatic literature---perhaps, only the role of Tristan is tougher. For me, Act 3 is one of the most difficult acts of any opera I sing. When it all comes together, it is a rewarding but exhausting experience. I think we have a very interesting and entertaining production on our hands here in Seville and I’m excited to sing tonight in front of an audience.

Also, I would be remiss to not mention that this performance begins, for me, the celebration of “The Wagner Year”. This season we begin the observation of his 200th birthday (his actual birthday is in May). Perhaps no composer revolutionized opera (and the orchestra) as did Richard Wagner. I have been honored to have been so associated with his music. NO, I’m not going into all the political ramifications of his character or his personal beliefs that are so controversial and appalling in this post. I am only paying honor to his music and theatrical genius. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share his music on so many stages in my career and I’m excited to do so again tonight. Later this season, I’ll be singing a great deal more of his music with “Tristan und Isolde”, “Die Meistersinger”, and scenes from “Die Walk
üre” all on the schedule. Of course, I’m not discounting the genius of Giuseppe Verdi whose 200th birthday we also begin to celebrate this season. But for tonight, “Siegfried” is in town. I’m looking forward to welcoming into the ‘ville.

I should mention, as well, that one of our dogs is a little miniature dachshund named “Siegfried”--although we call him “Ziggy”. Ah, the influence of this opera...