However fine the performances of the Ring Cycle’s first three dramas are – and the State Opera of South Australia’s have been very fine – it’s Götterdämmerung that tends to find everyone out. Wagner’s demands are here so great, and the scale of his Cycle’s final instalment so vast, that there are bound to be passages where mere mortals risk sounding overstretched.
But this happens so seldom here that the concern can be discounted. As before, there’s superb, live-wire playing from every orchestral department, generating a powerful sense of dark, brooding atmosphere into which the singers tap superbly. As Siegfried, Timothy Mussard paces his resources with all the required skill. Lisa Gasteen’s Brünnhilde combines finesse with soaring firepower: her and the orchestra’s launching of her closing ‘Immolation Scene’ is a great moment.
Jonathan Summers’ Gunther and Joanna Cole’s Gutrune are outstanding: Duccio dal Monte, though a bit free at times, is a richly powerful Hagen. And in Waltraute’s magnificent Act I narrative, Elizabeth Campbell’s Waltraute is as good as you’ll get. The chorus sings out of its collective skin, Asher Fisch conducts and shapes the work’s huge trajectory with the surest touch