Opera review: Götterdämmerung, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Götterdämmerung, the apocalyptic conclusion to Wagner’s Ring Cycle, was also, on Sunday, the star-studded finale to what has been an outstanding 2019 Edinburgh International Festival opera programme. It was also the final instalment to a complete concert-style Ring Cycle, its four operas rolled out one by one over the past four festivals.

Christine Goerke. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic

Götterdämmerung, Usher Hall, Edinburgh * * * * *

Nothing quite beats the finality of Götterdämmerung, its hours of leitmotiv high jinx and lurid backstabbing (literally in poor Siegfried’s case) reconciled in that gloriously concluding big-screen theme.

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Sir Andrew Davis, not an obviously natural Wagnerian, approached the music with clear-minded efficiency, securing a tight, self-defining directionality from the RSNO (its six harps like a seraphic militia), which in turn acted as an inspirational bedrock for some classy singing. More expansiveness in the closing moments from Davis would truly have nailed it.

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All of The Scotsman's 5-star reviews from the 2019 festivals

Burkhard Fritz’s Siegried was heroic to the last, despite fatigue threatening his final utterances; Christine Georke exhibited extraordinary vocal and emotional muscle as an unforgettable Brünnhilde; and Amber Wagner was vocally all-consuming as Getrune. Together with the pungency of the RCS Voices, this was a cast to die for.

Ken Walton