Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Götterdämmerung PLUS

Götterdämmerung on BBC Radio 3 today - listen here.  The plus is the interval talk, with Mark Berry and Roger Scruton, which should mean interesting perspectives. Some of the interval features in this series have been way above average, which isn't saying much as the average is fairly low. But this one should be good.

Listening to this Ring des Nibelungen has been rewarding.  It's not great or historic, but my gosh, is it fun! Antonio Pappano has proved himself by creating the Ring as pure theatre, vivid with drama and striking effects. He's telling a magnificent story, which the Ring is, after all. This Ring feels like epic panorama, like a saga at the movies, with emphasis on the human side of non-human characters. High standards all round though no real depths to encumber. You could do a whole lot worse with Pappano's Ring as an introduction to Wagner, or to opera itself for that matter. 

This free-spirited approach throws up treasures, like the Rhinemaidens in Das Rheingold, who sounded genuinely fresh and happy. Which is how they should be. They carry no baggage and have no inkling that that's exactly why they don't guard their treasure as they should.  I don't adulate Terfel, but respect him a lot when he's on message. In the Met  Rheingold, he seemed to show his contempt for the miscasting around him. In the ROH Ring, he's enjoying himself being Wotan before the fall. Thus, as the plot develops, his Wotan takes on more depth. I've never thought of Wotan as meta Rhinemaiden before, but yes, the Ring is Wotan's journey towards wisdom, which the Rhinemaidens (like Siegfried) may or may not reach.

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