Reyer’s Sigurd at the Opera House, Geneva

“Sigurd!” they cry out and by God they’ve done it again: I’ve goosebumps from the fantastically high pitched and heart rendering pain that emanates from the voice of the soprano, Anna Caterina Antonacci, singing the voice of Brunehild’s love and anguish.

For those of you who are familiar with Reyer’s works, or Sigurd in particular, you will know that the difficult composition of the score is even more difficult to perfect: various arias in chromatic or minor keys, dramatic pauses, modulation, leitmotifs, rubato and vigorous bowing from the orchestra at moments that are charged with emotion.

The beauty of this performance was the ability to move the audience without any acting gesture: it is performative music at its best. Here, voices convey the breadth and depth of emotion through intonation, and the orchestra perfected dynamic contrasts, skillfully led by conductor Frederic Chaslin, who coordinated the instruments and voices with great accuracy.

If you’ve ever heard the cliché ‘to raise the roof’, then you’ll understand what I mean when I say that the chorus raised the roof in a glorious manner. The division between soprano, alto, tenor and bass was faultless and combined, produced a sublime sound which paid tribute to Reyer’s composition.

A truly remarkable performance was that of Andrea Caré, interpreting the voice of Sigurd. As a tenor, his voice was melodious, euphonic and elegantly graceful in mastering the leaps in pitch and arduous score.

Boris Pinkhasovich was convincing as Gunther and his deep, sonorous voice filled every corner of the stage. Perhaps the emotion of Sigurd and Brunehild overshadowed all other singers but the passion and vitality was lacking in his role and a more imposing Gunther might have provided greater contrast to the tragic emotional interplay between Sigurd and Brunehild.

Whilst interpretations of Reyer can often languish, the range of emotion captured in this performance was marvelous and a spectacular example of opera at its finest. Sigurd is part of the Reyer performances on show at the Opera House in Geneva not to be missed.

Billetterie du Grand Théâtre
CP 5126
CH–1211 Genève 11

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