A stupendous night of Wagner, and your chance to catch some of the magic

Michelle DeYoung
The Dallas Morning News

If you weren’t at the Meyerson Symphony Center Friday night, you missed what may have been the most electrifying performance I’ve witnessed in Dallas in 16 years. Unfortunately, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s concert version of Act I of Wagner’s Die Walküre, with three fabulous singers, was a one-time event, originally planned as a prelude to a European tour. 

The music was always organically alive, surging then hesitating, threatening then caressing, violent then tender, finally chills-down-the-back thrilling. For all the detail, van Zweden maintained amazing command of the whole act’s dramatic and musical trajectory, always sure of its ultimate goals, those incredible climaxes.

Simon O’Neill was a spectacular Siegmund, his tenor a bit brighter than the classic Wagnerian heldentenor, but as capable of eloquent pianissimos as of blazingly powerful–and apparently effortless–top notes. Michelle DeYoung’s well-appointed mezzo could project wariness, determination and glorious, full-throated ecstasy. Kristinn Sigmundsson was an unusually mature Hunding, but there’s an argument for that, and his bass aptly seasoned beef with vinegar.

Projected titles provided translations and explained just enough of the action. It’s too bad the singers weren’t more consistent in their dramatizations. O’Neill was the best, fully engaged with actions and emotions. DeYoung was tellingly involved and facially expressive at most important moments, but neither she nor O’Neill portrayed a crucial transfixed look in the stage directions. Sigmundsson was too attentive to his score to project Hunding’s full menace.

Start to finish, the DSO sounded like one of the world’s great orchestras, finely disciplined, powerful yet pliant. Horns and the notoriously tricky Wagner tubas sounded especially fine, and there were particularly eloquent solos from cellist Christopher Adkins and oboist Erin Hannigan.
Read the rest of the review here