Friday, January 15, 2010
Returning to the title role in Siegfried and the Ring of Fire comes pretty naturally for baritone Michael Krzankowski. “It’s kind of like riding a bike, everything comes back easily,” said the Young Artist, who sang the role in the Opera Goes to School workshops last season.
The weeks spent with the Opera Goes to School program are some of Michael’s favorite of each season. “I love singing for kids, because they’re very honest with their reactions,” he says. Plus the kids—both the performers and the audience—really get into it. He remembers hearing audible excitement during the sword fights and, “Afterward they'd be acting out the fights and arguing about who was cooler—Siegfried or Wotan.” And the oft-heard reaction to Siegfried and Brünnhilde's kiss? "Ewwwww!"
Since last year was a “workshop” year, they’ve done some fine-tuning to the production based on their experiences. “We’re exploring what the show was last year, thinking about what worked, and adding extra layers, which makes it that much better,” Michael says. Along with Michael, Alex Mansoori (Mime/Loge), Vira Slywotzky (Brünnhilde cover), and Megan Hart (Forest Bird/Valkyrie) were involved in the production last year. Working with the newcomers—Jenni Bank (Erda and others) and Erik Anstine (Wotan/Fafner)*—brings a whole new dynamic. “There’s a different energy, it’s a different show,” Michael says. “And it’s good because it keeps it fresh for everyone who’s already done it.”
*Update: I had the casting for Brünnhilde backwards - this season Marcy Stonikas sings Brünnhilde and Vira Slywotzky covers the role. Also, Bray Wilkins, who was in the Young Artists Program last year but didn't perform in Siegfried is covering Mime/Loge this season, and will perform the role in Yakima.
Photo © Bill Mohn