Bel Canto, davvero!

February 27, 2024 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC, Opera, WAGNER | 2 Comments |

Alberich monsters Mime (by Arthur Rackham)

Richard Wagner Society of South Australia – Wake for Wagner (18 for 13) February 2024

President Geoffrey Seidel welcomed, and Barbara Fergusson interviewed, tenor Andrew Goodwin.

Andrew grew up in the inner west Sydney suburb of Summer Hill and after certain vicissitudes, got the opportunity, arranged by Mira Yevtich, to study at the St Petersburg State Conservatory. Since then, he has appeared in numerous roles* and performed with all the major Australian symphony orchestras, but thus far at least, in few Wagner operas (when this was pointed out, he hilariously channeled “The Fast Show” and said: “I’ll get my coat.”)

But he did take on the important role of Mime in Simone Young’s concert version of Das Rheingold at the Sydney Opera House in 2023. Whilst the role is traditionally played, and sung, in the manner befitting a nasty little gnome, Young wanted Goodwin to sing Mime in his own voice, Bel canto style, á la Julius Patzak on Furtwängler’s record. Whilst Bel canto is associated with Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, and early Verdi, the technique can achieve a clear melodic line without necessarily incorporating all the frills and curlicues.

Goodwin explains Lensky’s odd behaviour in Eugene Onegin

Yes, Wagner had criticized the ‘style’ as merely a question of “whether that G or A will come out roundly,” and yet the lyrical portions of Mime’s singing in Rheingold – when he whimpers to Wotan and Loge in Scene Three – is tailor-made for it. Goodwin proceeded to explain the technique to a level way above this correspondent’s pay grade, but fired with an infectious and gratifying enthusiasm.

[*Andrew Goodwin’s work incudes Lensky in Eugene Onegin at the Bolshoi Theatre (the only westerner to do so) and also Tamino in The Magic Flute with the Bolshoi Opera; touring with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov; Nadir in The Pearlfishers for State Opera of South Australia; Artaxerses and Orpheus in Haydn’s L’anima del filosofo for Pinchgut Opera; Egeo in Cavalli’s Giasone;  The Rake’s Progress in NZ; Concert appearances in the Berlioz L’enfance du Christ and Messiah; Iolanthe; Brett Dean’s The Last Days of Socrates; Mozart’s Requiem and Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento; Bach’s Cantata; Rossini’s Stabat Mater; Elgar’s The Light of Light and The Dream of Gerontius; Biographica and The Rape of Lucretia; Saint Saëns’ Requiem; Haydn’s Mass in Time of War; and he has recorded, inter alia, Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise; Shchedrin’s Boyarina Morozov; Lysander in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and strings; and, next month, in The Fox as part of Stravinsky’s The Nightingale and Other Fables for the Adelaide Festival.]


  1. Reply


    February 27, 2024

    Very interesting! Looking forward to flying in from La La Land for Stravinsky!

  2. Reply

    Carl E Weiss

    February 28, 2024

    I thought Goodwin was personable, affable and engaged.

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