Which is not to say it is "good". There are still unforced errors aplenty, including, but hardly limited to: the need to over-choreograph Wagner's transition music with stage business ranging from the merely distracting (Siegfried's one-man fire dueling over the Act III scene transition) to the downright boneheaded (the extremely misguided stealing of baby Siegfried in the opening material); the inability to leave well-enough alone when it comes to video gimmickry (I'm not a hater I swear, a little bit of 3D woodbird would have been fine with me, but when things cross into Zippideedoodah territory you've gone too far); the weird fussy staging choices (Wotan's speer is really a poster tube with the runes rolled up inside? And he has to take them out when he talks to Erda? And then Siegfried doesn't bust the speer but the left over metal rod? Wha?); and the refusal to use all these alleged magical powers to solve some of the most obvious staging challenges of the piece ($45M and we get a hilarious talking snake head for a dragon, gotcha). But the biggest trouble is that we still have zero evidence that this Ring has any sort of an aesthetic, much less an interpretive, program in place. We are not witnessing a vision for the Ring; we are witnessing an ambitious but pointless formal experiment in stagecraft.
But these shenanigans were mostly forgiven on account of a winning afternoon music-wise, for which we can chiefly thank last-minute Siegfried Jay Hunter Morris and slightly last-minute maestro Fabio Luisi.
Morris' Siegfried is a joy in a part where "less-awkward than others" is considered a triumph. He brings out the beauty in Siegfried's music in a way rarely heard, lingering lovingly over phrases that often get a bark. He sounded a bit less fresh than on the prima broadcast (because who wouldn't) but still maintained a remarkable level of security throughout, never delving into that danger, danger fake throaty business that is the Siegfried's most common weapon. As if that weren't enough, he credibly portrays Siegfried's naivete and wonder in a way that goes beyond the standard "middle-aged dude bouncing around" delivery. Truly, he had the HD audience eating out of the palm of his hand (his ability to look the part doesn't hurt either) by the end of the show, a feat I'll admit I didn't quite think possible. Here is a Siegfried that is not overshadowed by his colleagues with lesser assignments but is truly the star of his own show. Complaints that his voice is a shade too light for the role, or might be underpowered in house could be valid but also I don't care. JHM is operating at the forefront of research in the field of Siegfried portrayals and should be celebrated for it.
Luisi likewise deserves great credit for his energetic, propulsive reading of the score, the kind of reading that makes one question how this opera could ever get a reputation for dragginess. I suppose he might be guilty of TOO much momentum at times--there are some magisterial moments lost in the fray here.
The supporting men in this dudeliest of operas were uniformly strong. Perhaps Luisi's gentler accompaniment was what Terfel needed, or the Wanderer just lies in a better place for him, but I detected little of the shoutiness that marred his Rheingold and Walkure outings. And where the stentorian authority needed to make those Wotans resonate seemed to escape him, the Wanderer's shadings of regret, humanity, and desperation were beautifully drawn out. Gerhard Siegel has been appropriately praised for his musical singing of Mime, though he perhaps suffered most from the production's lack of a clear concept. Eric Owens and Hans-Peter Konig supplied vocal luxury to spare in Alberich and Fafner.
This was a success for Voigt, though I don't think anyone is unclear about the fundamental discord between where her voice is right now and the demands of Brunnhilde. Still, she seemed to be working very hard to keep things in the right place and it paid off handsomely (moreso during the HD cast than on opening night, where she appeared to be wisely and aggressively cutting her losses). She also seems much more alive to the dramatic demands of the Siegfried scene than the Walkure Brunnhilde, which felt like it never came together beyond a very general level. Vocally, I don't know if the good work here says one way or another how she'll fare with the big Gotterdammerung sing. But acting-wise I'm certainly looking forward to what she does with the part.
P.S. Not that I don't appreciate Renaay's time, but could we maybe transition into having these HD cast intermission interviews done by professionals? There's a whole group of people who get paid specifically to ensure public/recorded interactions are not painful to watch. Hire some of them.