Thursday, February 7, 2008

Die Walküre at the Met

Last night I attended the final performance of Die Walküre conducted by Lorin Maazel. Maazel's interpretation was lyrical and introspective compared to Levine's. He is not afraid to let the orchestra play at less than maximum volume, building slowly to climaxes, rather than pounding away as Levine tends to do. Despite vocal unevenness from everyone except mezzo Michelle DeYoung, the Fricka, it was a profound, moving, almost religious experience.

Wotan's existential dilemma -- to either satisfy Fricka's request to punish the adulterous Siegmund and Sieglinde, or allow the Wälsungs to retrieve the Nibelungen gold and save the Gods -- is of course the proverbial rock and a hard place. What major political decision today, while accomplishing some short-term, politically expedient good, does not also contain the seeds of eventual disaster?

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