In an S&F entry posted several days ago, we reprinted a post of ours made to a venerable opera eMail list which post gave several quick impressions of the performance heard via live streaming audio (WQXR) of the Met's season-closing Die Walküre among which quick impressions was this one concerning Stephanie Blythe's performance as Wotan's wife, Fricka:
An exemplary performance of this role were it not for a single misstep that all but made the entire performance false dramatically: the perfectly idiot, grotesquely-Italian-opera-sentimental and inappropriate breaking down in sobs at the close of her line, "die Göttin entweiht er nicht so!". Whether that was something she [Ms. Blythe] decided to do herself or was directed to do I have no idea, but it really must be done away with!We now know just whose idea it was to have Fricka break down in sobs: Stephanie Blythe's. And her reasons? Read 'em here and weep. Ms. Blythe, in a single stroke, managed what we would have thought impossible: the transformation of the defining moment of an epic cosmic tragedy into a bourgeois marital contretemps; one that would feel right at home in the most soapy of Italian-opera melodramas. Lord preserve us all from opera singers given their way in critical dramatic matters such as this, and Lord preserve us all from directors airheaded enough to permit or sanction it.