Squicky Wagnerian drama at Tanglewood

Lisa and I went with Charlie and Carie to see the Wagner doubleheader yesterday at Tanglewood. It was a hell of a concert—certainly symphonic but just as certainly operatic.

We brought our customary picnic: homemade calzones with a cold tomato, basil and garlic salsa cruda, along with a few bottles of wine, some taralli, and cheese. We had the low table (to keep from blocking everyone’s view behind us) and Lisa’s Provençal tablecloth. Alas, no candles.

The music was spectacular—at least the first half, comprising Act I of Die Walküre. Deb Voight, who also performed with us in the Mahler 8th, sang a convincing Sieglinde and Clifton Forbis did a spectacular Siegmund. Stephen Milling as the jealous Hunding was even more impressive, both musically and dramatically. But the love aria between Sieglinde and Siegmund was the topper—at least, as long as you weren’t reading the supertitles, which made the incestuous nature of the lovers’ relationship entirely too clear. As Lisa said, repeatedly, “Ew.” Which brings a question: how, exactly, is one supposed to react to a work of high art that rates high on the squick scale? Judging from Voight’s facial expression just as she sang her final line, she struggled just a little bit with the issue as well.

Still, Wagner’s weird take on Germanic myth aside, it was a phenomenal performance, and we had a heck of a time. I kind of wish I were singing another concert this summer, preferably not in the rain.