Sunday, June 14, 2015

Christine Goerke Gives Top Wagnerian Performance In New Zealand

Brünnhilde Ascending: Christine Goerke is quickly climbing to the summit of Valhalla. (Photo: Arielle Doneson)
Concert review for Wagner Gala featuring Christine Goerke (soprano), Simon O'Neill (tenor) with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pietari Inkinen at Michael Fowler Centre on June 12, 2015, in Wellington: "In 2012 we had that thrilling concert performance of the second of Wagner's Ring operas Die Walkure, and two of the outstanding cast were Christine Goerke and Simon O'Neill. Now as a kind of addenda to that extraordinary experience we heard large slices of the last two Ring operas, Siegfried and Gotterdammering [sic]. I suppose there was a hint of frustration in the hour or so of each opera we heard, in that we moved from act to act, missing huge chunks that tie the operas together, and were treated to surtitles that were quaintly absurd in the manner of English translations of Wagner's words. Having said all this, though, the evening was a marvellous experience of Wagner 'writ large'; a huge orchestra with
Wagner tubas, bass trumpet, two sets of tympani, massed strings and reinforced woodwind. What an extraordinary sound we heard! And how well the orchestra played under Pietari Inkinen in his second last concert as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra music director. But for me the evening belonged to the two singers - Christine Goerke as Brunhilde and Simon O'Neill as Siegfried, and of the two it was Goerke who stole the show. In the extracts from the two operas, she had the most to do and she stunned us all. Hers is a voice of tremendous power but without the disconcerting vibrato that afflicts many Wagner sopranos, and the huge orchestra never fazed her for a moment. But it wasn't all power - there was poetry and subtlety in abundance as well. O'Neill was scarcely less impressive, riding the orchestra with ease and displaying the stamina and razor sharp accuracy that is a feature of his peerless Wagner singing. An unforgettable evening that drew a thoroughly deserved standing ovation." [Source]

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