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. Continue reading