[NOTE: This entry has been updated (5) as of 5:50 AM Eastern on 11 Oct. See below.]
Oh dear. That was most disappointing. Overall, a dramatically (as in drama) lackluster, even phlegmatic, performance from all, Jimmy and the band included. Beyond that, we always thought Terfel would make a fine Rheingold Wotan even though he'd never do for the Walküre and Siegfried Wotans, but it seems we were way wrong in that judgment. He sounded not only miscast vocally, the timbre of his voice lacking the necessary weight and gravitas, but his dramatic declamation was all but nonexistent even though he on occasion attempted to force it. It's not a good thing, not a good thing at all, when the Alberich comes across sounding more noble and commanding than the Wotan. Too bad. We trust the Lepage staging acquitted itself with more success.
Update (12:49 PM Eastern on 28 Sep): We're awaiting three in-house, MSM reviews of this Met premiere — viz., those by Alex Ross, Martin Bernheimer, and Anne Midgette — and will post links to them when published. From our experience, MSM reviews by the rest are mostly silence — or might as well be.
Update 2 (3:50 PM Eastern on 28 Sep): From Martin Bernheimer:
The eyes and ears of the music world were supposed to be magnetised by this epochal Rheingold. As a quixotic fate would have it, the ears fared better than the eyes. Much better.
Update 3 (10:26 PM Eastern on 1 Oct): Although we weren't looking for it, New York Magazine's Justin Davidson had some apposite commentary to offer:
In the first part of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, the god Wotan uses his sister-in-law as collateral for a new home. In a similar fit of recklessness, the Metropolitan Opera has bet its own house on a new Ring. The production by Robert Lepage, which will roll out over the next two years and serve the Met for many more (unless it bankrupts the company first), begins with a whiz-bang but verveless Das Rheingold, in which miracles of stagecraft alternate with long stretches of standing around, waiting for the computer-guided set to trundle into place.
Update 4 (5:44 AM Eastern on 11 Oct): Anne Midgette — who missed the premiere but caught up with the production this past Saturday — weighs in:
Lepage's Ring is utterly traditional: All the characters are taken at face value, with little effort to delve beneath the surface. All of the creative energy went into the set.
Update 5 (5:50 AM Eastern on 11 Oct): Alex Ross — who despite the delayed filing date was at the premiere — had this to say (New Yorker subscription required to read the full review):
Director Robert Lepage’s production is a work in progress. The first two nights of the show had technical issues, and when the set stopped moving, the singers looked as though they were fending for themselves. The costumes were gaudy and the props not very godlike, making arrogant deities come off as glum and monochromatic.