Sunday, January 01, 2006

Boulez Ring


By this time, the Boulez Ring has become a bit of a leitmotif for me. I suppose that has more to do with Chéreau's staging than the maestro's conducting, but that is an issue of contention. Now, this cycle announced the triumph of Regietheater in the Festspielhaus; however, it did more than announce the arrival of Patrice Chéreau. The key to the whole cycle, in my opinion, comes at the end of Götterdämmerung - when the stunned Gibichungs turn 'round and face the audience in mute testimony to the twilight of the gods. That moment offers no resolution. The cycle leaves everything to the viewer.

In the Marxist milieu of the cycle, it is difficult to ascribe traditional meanings. I have always seen the Ring as - fundamentally - a story about what happens when one forsakes love. Alberich curses it to get the Rheingold, Wotan forsakes his love for the Walsung twins to keep Fricka pacified, and Siegfried forsakes it out of naïveté. In other words, the Ring emphasizes the negative of the point Wagner proves in Der fliegende Holländer and Tristan und Isolde. However, in Chéreau's conception of it, class struggle is (1) absolute and (2) meaningless. In the end, only the workers, plebeians, and proletarians survive. Was it worth it? The gods (i.e., bourgeoisie) and nobles (i.e., industrial captains) were too corrupt to survive, weren't they?

2 Comments:

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Speaking of Tristan: Do you agree that the first chord of that Opera is the Hungarian Minor Gipsy scale minus the tonic?

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Now I will look on what Boulez did to the Ring ...

 

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