Tag Archives: Wagner’s Ring

Wagner’s Ring: Siegfried and Götterdämmering, Bayreuth, August 2013

The overall conception of this production is seediness, but the main problem is a failure of dramaturgy and linkage to the music. There is a sword, originally held by Siegmund, but Siegfried uses a machine-gun for killing Fafner, and although Hagen brings out a spear for the opposing oaths of Brünnhilde and Siegfried, he simply …

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Wagner’s Ring: Rheingold and Walküre, Bayreuth, August 2013

After the finest Rheingold I have ever heard, at the Proms with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle this summer, it would be churlish to draw comparisons with the Bayreuth orchestra under Kirill Petrenko. They played well, and there were some lovely moments, yet the production by Frank Castorf treated it as background music. Rheingold …

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Götterdämmerung, BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, July 2013

At the end, Barenboim held his baton up, and five thousand people held their applause. As he let the baton drop the cheers started, and continued until he came on one last time to make a small speech, thanking the orchestra, singers, and indeed the audience for its wonderful silence and rapt attention. He also …

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Der Ring des Nibelungen, Longborough, June/ July 2013

Longborough Festival Opera provided one of the most memorable moments in any Ring I’ve seen — as the lights went out at the end of Walküre a stunned silence enveloped the audience for at least half a minute. Wotan’s farewell to Brünnhilde over, a mist surrounded the god as he knelt by the sleeping body of his …

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Götterdämmerung, Staatsoper Berlin, Schiller Theater, April 2013

When the Rheinmaidens playfully tease Siegfried at the start of Act II, their musical movements were far better than the unmusicality of the irritatingly intrusive dancers, who reappeared in this final part of The Ring. Their manipulation of silk sheets was fine, but this is the first time I have seen opera ladies move more gracefully …

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Siegfried, Staatsoper Berlin, Schiller Theater, April 2013

The first two operas of this cycle experienced slight problems: orchestra lights failed a couple of times during Rheingold, and stage backdrop lighting flashed and failed in Walküre. But Siegfried saw a more serious disruption when the eponymous hero failed to show up for Act I. Why, we were not told, but the role was admirably …

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Die Walküre, Staatsoper Berlin, Schiller Theater, April 2013

What a spectacular ending to Act III this was, equalled in my recent memory only with Barenboim in the same production at La Scala in December 2010. His sensitive handling of the orchestra framed those hugely gentle scenes between the sympathetic Wotan of René Pape and the intensity of Iréne Theorin as his daughter Brünnhilde, when …

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Das Rheingold, Staatsoper Berlin, Schiller Theater, April 2013

The lights went down and all was silence. In the partially covered pit the conductor was invisible but slowly a quiet E flat emerged. Daniel Barenboim’s restrained conducting allowed huge clarity for the singers and plenty of scope for the brass at big moments. It was a coolly intriguing prelude to The Ring. The stage …

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Götterdämmerung, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, September 2012

Under Antonio Pappano’s direction the orchestra gave us a lyrical and multi-layered interpretation of Wagner’s score, ranging from soft moments to huge power. After the prologue with the Norns, followed by Brünnhilde and Siegfried, things really opened out in Act I with John Tomlinson as Hagen in the hall of the Gibichungs. He was riveting …

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Siegfried, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, September 2012

Wotan’s meeting with Erda that starts Act III of Siegfried is a focal point in his demise.  After awakening her for advice she tells him to ask Brünnhilde, their daughter bold and wise, but learning Wotan has cast her aside, she asks why he who taught defiance punished defiance, why he who ruled by vows now …

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Das Rheingold, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, September 2012

This prologue to Wagner’s Ring promises a feast of fine singing and acting in the remaining three operas of the cycle. Bryn Terfel sang as well or better than I have ever heard him in the role of Wotan, emphasising maturity and self-awareness, showing he realises he has set in motion something against which the …

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The Ring, Maryinsky Opera, London, July/August 2009

Valery Gergiev unfolded the music beautifully … never rushing, but never flagging

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