Waltraud Meier, the German dramatic mezzo-soprano, is another combustible operatic fire hazard I find nearly impossible to ignore when she is on the stage.
To tell the truth, she is rather hard to label nowadays... What other mezzo today can sing Elisabeth (in Tannhaeuser) or Isolde like she can? This clip is from the DVD documentary of her called Waltraud Meier: Ich folge dem innern Triebe (I Follow A Voice Within Me). The title is taken from one of Mahler's Lieder... which probably fits her well. It also reminds me of what another favorite mezzo of mine, Vesselina Kasarova, likes to say - ich folge meinem Intuition (I follow my intuition). Hmmmph! Maybe that's why these gals are splendidly expressive artists while I'm a stiff nerd (my instinct sucks... and that's an understatement).
At any rate, upon watching this DVD I was persuaded to give my DVDs of Wagner's Lohengrin another try (have 3 of them, but sadly none has Meier as Ortrud... which means that a shopping trip is in order). I had already reviewed the Met DVD with Peter Hoffmann and Eva Marton as Lohengrin and Elsa (with the great Leonie Rysanek as Ortrud)... Somehow didn't like it that much. Last night I had a go at another DVD from the Bayreuth Festival with Hoffmann again as Lohengrin (in much better vocal shape there), Karan Armstrong as Elsa, and Elizabeth Connell as Ortrud.
Armstrong's husband, Goetz Friedrich, directed the show and it shows! It's a much more gripping story telling with good use of light and the Bayreuth stage. Somehow I'm not all that sold on Armstrong as Elsa (though I was quite impressed with her wide shoulders)... Elizabeth Connell... she doesn't look like an Ortrud, nor does she sound like one, but man, that lass can really act! She's this small little gal with a sweet voice that exudes meanness that makes your skin crawls. If she physically resembles her stage presence, she'd be something like 8 foot tall.
Anyhow... as much as I liked last night's viewing, the 3rd Lohengrin DVD will have to wait a while before getting on my 'at bat' tray. This weekend is reserved for a bel canto revival at yours truly.