You have to sit in a small Fulham church, on a pretty uncomfortable chair, for at least four hours. And listen to a load of opera singers warbling about dwarves and gold and stuff. From certain perspectives, Fulham Opera’s production of Wagner’s Siegfried doesn’t sound like much fun at all. But somehow – and I’m still not entirely sure why – it’s a completely brilliant evening’s entertainment, which absolutely does Wagner proud.

It’s helped, of course, by some monumental vocal performances – Philip Modinos is a really blisteringly full-on Siegfried, Ian Wilson-Pope a calm, intense Wanderer – but there’s more to it than just that. There is a seriousness of intent to this production which absolutely transcends its humble surroundings, and despite plenty of minor qualms with the production, I found myself simply blown away by the whole project.

On paper, it doesn’t quite add up. For a start, the production, directed by Max Pappenheim, is ambitious but flawed: the modernisation is no problem – I can cope with having an umbrella instead of a staff; it reminds me of Harry Potter – but it is completely unnecessary to superimpose any more opaque symbolism onto the Ring cycle, and what was meant to be achieved by making the Wanderer carry a film reel about with him, I do not know. Despite this, however, the commitment to a single directorial concept is very impressive, and it is wonderfully presented in the centre of the church (the altar well and truly abandoned) with an engrossed audience surrounding the action.

I have slight concerns as well over aspects of the musical presentation. Ben Woodward, the Musical Director, has done a very fine job overall but his rendition of the piano score often seemed just slightly hurried, Wagner’s slow-burn music not quite given the space it needs to sing at its clearest. Further, the addition of a flute and a horn made welcome variation in sound, but co-ordination with the singers and piano was an inevitable issue here. And while I have nothing but respect for Philip Modinos’ sheer stamina in maintaining such an epic Siegfried all evening, a calmer approach in the role’s occasional more pensive moments would have added a certain nuance to this potentially rather one-dimensional, brutish character. Still, Modinos has to be heard to be believed: his voice is huge.

Modinos wasn’t the only cast member to impress. Zoë South was quite the Brünnhilde in Die Walküre, and she scores another hit in her more lyrical role here – her closing duet with Siegfried is a magical conclusion to the evening. Peter Kent is also a strong Mime, acting as well as singing with aplomb and finding a real rapport with his errant adoptive son Siegfried. The Wanderer, Ian Wilson-Pope, finds just the right aura of eerie calm, and gives an unshowy but deeply secure reading of this troubled role. And Robert Presley’s Alberich, Emma Peaurt’s Woodbird, Antoine Salmon’s Fafner, Rhonda Browne’s marvellous Erda – all the supporting cast do superb jobs in fleshing this production out. Maybe this is why it’s so impressive overall: it’s the sheer depth of talent on board.

That, and the whole team’s obvious belief in the power of Wagner’s music. I am not a committed Wagnerite – I can’t help but see the weirdness in so many of his decisions. (Why mention a totally superfluous bear in the libretto, causing producers all kinds of unnecessary grief? Why include so much specific detail on the sword-making process?) But to see this magnificent opera performed with such obvious sincerity, and even a strange sense of necessity, was a thrilling experience.

I was at Fulham Opera’s Walküre last year, too (read Capriccio’s review here), and I can report with confidence that Siegfried merits the extra star I’m giving it. Götterdämmerung may not be till November, but I’m already getting excited. This is strongly recommended. As is hiring a cushion.