I have always loved or at least appreciated Wagner's music, and while not my favourite Wagner opera(a tie between Tristan Und Isolde and Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg) or my favourite of the Ring Cycle(Siegfried, with Wotan's Farewell from Die Walkure alongside the Quintet from Meistersinger my single favourite scene of Wagner's operas), but it is still powerful and epic as you would expect from the Ring Cycle and Wagner in general.
This production was very interesting. It is not the best Rheingold to me, the 1990 Met production is my favourite, closely followed by 1992 Bayreuth. But that is in no way saying the production is bad. It isn't, far from it. It is not perfect though, there are some moments of clumsy staging, especially when Fafner kills Fasolt, and the sound while mostly good in regard to the orchestra was uneven with the singers, with some of the singing sounding from the opposite direction from where the singers were standing on stage.
However, it is certainly an interesting production visually. There are a few ropey stage effects, especially the frog(when Alberich transforms into a snake and a frog), which looks little more than a secondary school art and design project, and I did have to get used to Loge looking as though he had stepped out of Stargate. However, the lighting is atmospheric, likewise with the minimal settings and there are some stunning projected images, with the best being Wotan and Loge's descending from Valhalla to Nieblungen. The camera work and picture quality are excellent, if perhaps too crisp in places.
On a musical level it is outstanding. The orchestra play with lushness and power, with the increasingly ecstatic/frantic passages promising just as much in the playing. Zubin Mehta's conducting occasionally lacks flow but more often than not is electric, with the whole confrontation between Wotan, Loge and Alberich a standout. The singing and sexiness of the Rhinemaidens are stunning.
The principal singing is wonderful, with several standouts. Juha Uusitalo is a firm and eloquent Wotan, Franz-Joseph Kappelmann's Alberich is not just skin-crawling but you do feel sorry for him and once you get over the constant goatee-stroking and the sedway-riding(which, apart from a part where he rides onto a crane perfectly in time to the music, didn't add very much) John Daszak is a wonderfully ironic Loge. Ana Larsson is a powerful and witty Fricka, Gerard Siegel is a suitably nasty Mime and Christa Mayer is a warning Erda. Matti Salminen is superb as Fasolt, Stephen Milling is not as good but more than adequate as Fafner.
All in all, interesting if not the best Rheingold I've watched. 8/10 Bethany Cox
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this