Critic’s notebook: The chapter of the gods concludes

Here’s one of the performances I’ve been lucky to catch this fall in Cincinnati.

Soprano Mithra Mastropierro was superb as Brunnhilde
Soprano Mithra Mastropierro was superb as Brunnhilde

Last month, Queen City Chamber Opera mounted the final installment, Act III, of Wagner’s opera “Siegfried,” at the Dunham Performing Arts Center on the West Side. The performance, which was well attended on a bright Sunday afternoon, marked the first complete performance of “Siegfried” in Ohio in a century. (It was in collaboration with the Wagner Society of Cincinnati.)

(The first two acts were performed in the previous two years. It’s a rather epic way to perform a Ring Cycle… )

What is so remarkable about the efforts of the company’s founding music director Isaac Selya is the quality that he has been able to achieve on a shoestring. His orchestra — complete with five extraordinary horn players, harp and timpani — filled nearly half of the auditorium floor.Read More »

Advertisements

Wagner triumphs on the West Side

The cast, with conductor Isaac Selya and director James Slouffman, center
The cast, with conductor Isaac Selya and director James Slouffman, center

Last weekend, on a beautiful fall day, I traveled to the West Side of Cincinnati to see the Queen City Chamber Opera mount Wagner’s “Siegfried” Act I. The opera start-up led by Isaac Selya, 28, was putting on a reduced version of the orchestration by Alfons Abbass. It is believed to be the first performance of this edition in the United States.

“Siegfried” is the the third drama in “Der Ring des Nibelungen.” It was the second Wagner opera tackled by Selya, in collaboration with the Wagner Society of Cincinnati — he mounted Act I of “Die Walkure” last spring. It was an ambitious undertaking, but no surprise for those who know about this ambitious young company. Their productions take place in the Dunham Arts Center – a Hannaford-built Arts Deco building that at one time served as an arts center for patients of a tuberculosis sanatorium on the park grounds.Read More »