Saturday, June 30, 2007

Wagner in Italy

No, this isn't a historical post, dealing with Wagner's terminal stay in Italy (late 1882 - 13 February 1883, if you're interested). It is, rather, a report on a report on part of a new Ring production in Florence. The always-interesting Ionarts*, through Charles T. Downey, covers Das Rheingold and Die Walküre. (here, and here, respectively) A.C. Douglas comments, not unfavorably, here.

At the risk of being a gloomy Gus ("petulant Pat," perhaps), I might voice some dissatisfaction with the production. Especially the treatment of the Rheingold. Having it as a screen-projected gilt fetus doesn't strike me as a particularly elegant solution to the problem. The gold should represent an abstract quantity, but it should be - at the same time - tangible and real. It is, as I understand Wagner, really gold - it's what you can do with it (and what you have to do before you can do anything) that is the dramatically important bit. So, it is just gold, but when you renounce love and make the Ring, it takes on a new significance. It might, in my book, help if it seems like you can actually do something with it. It also seems to introduce the Kupfer/Everding eternal return business. I've argued, with Terry here earlier, that the eternal return completely undermines the dramatic (in the Greek sense) effectiveness of the Ring. Also, all the robotic stuff is a bit too much like Harry Kupfer's Bayreuth Ring to strike me in the right ways.

Other than the YouTube videos, the photos, and reviews, I haven't seen the production. It could be great and I could be dead wrong. Either way, it seems interesting - whether or not it has a major flaw (aside from the Kupfer-esque stuff) is for greater minds than mine to determine.

*Which reminds me, Ionarts really should be added to the Links of Interest.

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