I'm a little late with this, but then again, if I'd tried to write it earlier, it probably would have descended into illiterate squealing within seconds. Even now I'm in danger. The fact is this: last Friday night, The Tenor In My Life sang Siegmund in Die Walküre at the Met. He only had one shot at it – we're already in London for the next gig and Siegfried hasn't even happened yet – and I think it's safe to say he made the most of it. By which I mean, it was sensational. Within my own highly biased frame of reference, it was one of the most exciting performances I've seen him give.
That won't mean much to you, perhaps, but maybe this little factoid will: he managed to unite the doyennes of the Parterre commentariat. They can be (and frequently are) brutal and bitchy, and I was steeling myself forsomebody to find fault, but remarkably, nobody did. Instead there were comments like "the great revelation of the evening", "the next great heldentenor", "the best overall performance" and so on. And yeah, I know, they're blog comments, and if they didn't make me happy, I'd be the first to play down their credibility. Too bad. I intend to have it both ways.
Besides, there's a level at which I will take what I can get. Because the tragedy of this otherwise triumphant evening is that it was, technically at least, a revival, and as a result there was a grand total of one press reviewer in the audience – and he appears to be saving his thoughts until all three cycles. Sigh. Reviewers aren't everything, of course; again, when they say mean things about singers I love, I'm all too ready to dismiss or doubt them. But it would have been nice on such an important evening to have some sort of external record of this triumph. (There was also, alas, no radio broadcast, and the Met doesn't seem to have published any photos yet. I feel my inner conspiracy theorist stirring...)
Not to worry. I have my own memories, and those of the friends and colleagues who were in the audience. It was an amazing night, a thrill from start to finish, and the buzz both in the auditorium and backstage was palpable. I was insanely and tearfully proud and just plain bowled over. As a dear friend said on Twitter: that boy can sing. Yes, he can, and oh my, did he ever.
The whole cast was on fabulous form, from Deborah Voigt's oh-so-sympathetic Brünnhilde (I want her Pre-Raphaelite hair) to Stephanie Blythe's majestic Fricka (how does any human person sing like that?) to Hans-Peter König's sonorous Hunding. Then of course there was Bryn Terfel's Wotan, who broke my heart several times over. And there was the glorious Eva-Maria Westbroek (increasingly one of my very favourite sopranos) as a radiant and adorable Sieglinde. I had seen her in a few late rehearsals, and she was wonderful then, but I was quite taken aback with the emotional intensity that she'd saved up for the performance – not to mention the constant cascades of gorgeous, gorgeous voice. With such a sweet pair of Wälsung twins, who could possibly get on board with Fricka's arguments, logical as they may be? I sure couldn't.
The five hours of opera flew by and so have the subsequent days. I can't believe it's been almost a week. I'm still buzzing a bit (we both are) and prone to fits of glee. So I'll stop writing now, and point you in the direction of a lovely blog post by the excellent Lucy of Opera Obsession. As for me, the rest is squeals. Yay! Wälse! And so on.