This production, directed by Cristof Nel is like one of those challenges they give to eager young apprentices on daytime reality shows: "We want you to stage Die Walküre and you have a budget of 50 to do it on". I imagine most of the budget was spent on the brown wrapping paper and sticky tape to make the Valkyries' wings. It does start off well though, in the meeting between Sieglinde and Siegmund. To be honest, I have never known this scene to fail. It just oozes eroticism. Angela Denoke is a sensuous Sieglinde and Robert Gambill is a virile Siegmund. I suppose the fact that Denoke wears just a nylon slip makes me think that it resembles something by Tennessee Williams although I could not, for the life of me, work out why Gambill wears short trousers. In this version it is implied that Wotan has buried his sword, Nothung, not in the ash tree but in Sieglinde's body as we see it projected onto her nylon slip. This makes some sort of sense to me.
In Act II we see Wotan, played as a fat slob by Jan-Hedrik Rootering, and a mini-skirted Brünnhilde, sung by Renate Behle. Behle is the smallest singer I have seen playing this demanding role. She makes a valiant attempt but her face distorts disconcertingly and her knobbly knees buckle under the effort. Tachina Vaughn is more successful as Frike, Wotan's wife and the scene in which she nags him into abandoning his protégé Siegmund is an effective one. So Siegmund has to lose his fight with Hagen, here staged crudely with marionettes.
The ride of the Valkyries, sung by eight mini-skirted women with cardboard wings, looks silly and sounds underpowered with an unimpressive Stuttgart orchestra under conductor Lothar Zagrosek. Worse is to come: the final scene between Wotan and Brünnhilde is played as soap opera. He sits reading a newspaper while she harangues him. There is no hint here of the tender, probably incestuous, feelings that Wotan has for his daughter.
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