With the Götterdämmerung selections, the LSO challenged the BSO on its own turf, BSO maestro James Levine being one of the premier Wagner interpreters of our day. McPhee’s approach is less epic than Levine’s, less fraught, more intimate and human-scaled. Parts of Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey were scrappy, the brass and winds scrambling, a reminder of how difficult this music is to play. Yet the brass sang out Siegfried’s Horn Call, and McPhee made the Magic Fire section dance just before the Rhine surges.
As for Lexington native Porackova (herself a former nurse), whatever problems she had being heard in front of a 90-piece orchestra were offset by her emotional shaping and acting. Singing from memory, she got a world of color into “O ihr, der Eide,/Heilige Hüter” and was chilling in her “Ruhe, ruhe du Gott” dismissal of her father, Wotan. And if she shrieked out her “Flugt heim, ihr Raben” command to Wotan’s ravens, perhaps that was an artistic choice. McPhee took the apocalyptic peroration at a pace that lit up the orchestra as well as Valhalla. He’s announced that he’ll be stepping down from the Longwood at the end of the season. It’s too bad — but even Superman can’t be everywhere.
, Music, Benjamin Zander, Opera, More