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Der Ring Das Nibelungen


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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012 11:46:16 AM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
Mandryka says:

The whole Siegfried/Brunhilde story in Gotterdammerung shows how feeble love is. IMO that's why the Ring is an major work of art.
----------------
Substitute the names and that could be said of almost any Opera I know .

The great Music of the RING is its chief glory IMO.

Regards - John

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012 1:01:09 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
JGC----Never been to a live production of the 'Ring' but it must be fantastic. This SF production, I'm curious since you mentioned the more modern dress, how was the background and scenery handled? Since the singing and music is what it's really all about, a minimalist visual approach wouldn't be out of place. Some modern European productions are 'strange' in their handling of this important work. Thanks for your descriptive writings!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012 5:14:17 PM PDT
BAD--This was our first Ring. I have always loved orchestral music, but my wife introduced me to opera about 15 years ago. She was more into Italian opera and we moved into Wagner gradually, beginning with Der Fliegende Holländer. The Ring was quite a remarkable experience. There is a huge buildup, starting with buying tickets about a year in advance. Our cycle was performed over a period of six days, and it is pretty intense with 18 hours of performance spread over those six days. We learned that ther are folks who travel the world, attending various performances. Some of them have seen the Ring dozens of times. I can see how it might be addictive, but I am glad I have a more diversified life!

In the San Francisco production, Das Rheingold was done in California Gold Rush style, Die Walküre in a Gilded Age industrial setting with Wotan as an industrialist, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung in our own time, emphasizing environmental degradation. Staging was suited to the respective eras and not elaborate, but certainly not minimalist. For my first Ring, I would have preferred traditional costuming and sets, but I found it less distracting than I feared, although it is pretty incongruous for a 20th Century industrialist to be running around carrying a spear! I agree that a minimalist approach could work, too, possibly better than the SF production.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012 5:58:18 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
James G. Christenson:

Have you heard the reordings of the Ring from the 30s and 40s with Melchior, Flagstad et al?

IMO they set vocal standards which have not been equled let alone surpassed.

Regards-John

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012 7:54:39 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
James G. Christenson----Wotan in business suit and spear, that might be apt. How about the Rhine-daughters? Every production can't necessarily imitate Beyreuth and there needs to be flexibility. I just wanted to recommend a good introductory book on the 'Ring if you need further tools for understanding the operas:

Wagner's Ring: A Listener's Companion and Concordance

Don't listen to some negative review on this book for it is a great access into the structure that Wagner designed. From leitmotifs to characters to librettos this work describes everything very methodically. With a concordance and discography, you'll be singing along with the greats in no time!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012 11:04:44 PM PDT
JohnR - Um, I get a feeling ... that not many know of the contributions of Melchior, Flagstad, Traubel and the others of the BEST (in the Ring cycle), anymore. NO DOUBT, it's fine to attend present-day presentations of any/all of the operas ... but there are some things (qualities) MISSING, am sure, that the "old masters (of Wagnerian singing)" could impart. ... It's very good, though, that Mr. Christenson and Mr. Dilger are interested in this mammoth undertaking (Ring opera/parts), as it continues it's next phase of evolvement! It'd be even better, if MORE people were interested-in the Ring, and it's myriad inventions, subtleties, length-and-breadth and results. Opinions only .....

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 3:30:42 AM PDT
yopjacky is absolutely right about Fritz Lang's silent film version of the Niebelunglied. It is an absolute stunner! In twenty-twenty hindsight, the destruction of the unyielding Burgunds by fire and the sword was an almost uncanny foretelling of the fate of Germany in World War II. Fortunately for Lang, he was in America long before Dr. Goebbels might have felt impelled to taken action against that particular bit of foresight.

A trifling anecdote: the pretty-boy actor with the weird hair-do who portrayed Siegfried refused to do the nude scene in which he bathes in the dragon's blood to become (almost) invulnerable. The director put a wig on the rather less than pretty actor playing Attila (and also Dr. Mabuse as well as the crazy scientist who builds the robot in "Metropolis") to do the scene instead.

LARRY

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 8:36:43 AM PDT
John--I have heard some fragments, but I have not heard those old recordings in any focused way. I'll look into that.

Posted on Jun 25, 2012 8:58:44 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 25, 2012 8:59:31 AM PDT
larry,
two things, metropolis was one of hitler's favorite films and Fritz lang was asked to be the head of the german cinema for the third Reich(it went to Leni riefenstall). He left germany quickly before declining the post. could hitler even have understood what Metropolis was about?
this has always been part of my argument that Hilter liked wagner for the wrong reasons.

the other thing about the bathing in the dragon's blood to become invincible(except for where the fig leaf fell on his back) Wagner changed this. Stage logistics seems to be the reason.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 10:21:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 25, 2012 10:32:45 AM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
James G. Christenson says:

John--I have heard some fragments, but I have not heard those old recordings in any focused way. I'll look into that.
=============
Friend

I am not old enough to have seen any on stage but they were from what I have read traditional productions. With the incredible singing they could have been concerts or set on Mongo ala Flash Gordon and I would have NOT given a whit.

Regards-John

Posted on Jun 25, 2012 11:09:56 AM PDT
Stereophile Magazine named the Blu-ray disc Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen [Blu-ray] as one of their "Records to Die For" in 2011.

I have no idea if this is what you might be looking for. It looks like the production style is modern and may be quite different from traditional Ring performances.

Posted on Jun 25, 2012 7:01:18 PM PDT
Soucient says:
I didn't care much for Chereau' staging of the "Ring' in the early 80's (I think). Wasn't awful, but wasn't too good, either.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 7:10:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 2, 2012 6:45:57 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
Der Ring des Nibelungen, a famous production from Bayreuth 1976, recorded 1980. Gwyneth Jones as Brünnhilde, Fritz Hübner as Hagen. Conducted by Pierre Boulez, directed by Patrice Chéreau. Finale of Wagner's tetralogy.

GJ screams but that is okay because the true ontological teleology of the Norse saga is realized. Her nighty is okay though.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmX9N8C8nko

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 7:26:44 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
John----Great YouTube link on Götterdämmerung. Good audio and filming.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 6:01:36 PM PDT
Montcler says:
I believe that this is arguably the best of all, musically and visually. Boulez `dusted `the Wagner scores and all later versions have followed suit. Chéreau is a genius: on the DVD Siegfried`s funeral march is simply breathtaking. The duet between Jones and Killebrew is unforgettable as is the `wintersturm` etc.
The Met production came later and it was good but old fashioned the day of its premiere.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 6:05:26 PM PDT
Montcler says:
I don`t think it`s to die for but it is pretty fanatastic: some scenes are fabulous but others make no sense and don`t come close to what Wagner is trying to tell us.

Posted on Aug 2, 2012 6:27:32 PM PDT
Soucient says:
Yanno, it was years ago when I saw it on tv and, frankly I was half-lit some of the time. I am a cheap drunk, so my former husband said because it doesn't take much to start the "Lampshade table dance". As we watched the opera, a bunch of us were drinking champagne, and I was just a tad intemperate because it tasted so wonderful.

I may get the Chereau version and see how it goes in a better state to evaluate and/or enjoy.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2012 10:57:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2012 4:04:21 PM PDT
Piso Mojado says:
It may help to consider that Chereau may have been following Bernard Shaw's idea that the "Ring", among other things, is an allegory of the Industrial Revolution ... the enslaved Nibelungs toiling underground, their masters dusting each other off, giving up everything for gold, killing their brothers, and retiring to a cave to guard their now useless pelf. It's the story of too many industrialists and CEOs. Shaw dilates on his views in his delightful book, "The Perfect Wagnerite", which in parts is very funny. He even thinks that "Goetterdaemmerung" is actually a Grand Oera. Imagine that. Who knew?

I apologise for mentioning this again, as it is not popular with some posters, but not everyone here reads everything. Besides Shaw, we have it on Wagner's own word that he wanted to write a modern Oresteia after Aeschylus, whom he read at age 28.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2012 2:29:26 PM PDT
Montcler says:
I had never made the connection and you are absolutely right. Indeed the characters in the Ring could easily emanate from today`s Wall Street. Greg Farell's the Crash of the titans comes to mind.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2012 2:40:18 PM PDT
Montcler says:
You`re absolutely right. The Chereau Ring is great musically and visually: all characters are believable.
Having seen Ernani in HD last winter I comented on Youtube that not only was the story silly but that wanting us to believe that 3 men are fighting for 200 pounds of flesh dressed like a Christmas tree (Angela Meade) was pushing the envelope. I`m still getting insulting replies.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2012 3:44:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2012 11:28:31 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
RE: Wagners visuals and pseudo philosophy. Most opera plots are NOT great literature. The Ring can be understood as "Snow White and the 7 NORNS"

I have not read any folks who saw Wagner at the Met in the 20s and 30s with Melchior. Lieder, Lehmann, Schorr, Flagstad etc kvetching about the mis-understood philosophical underpinnings of the productions. They might have had this weird IDEA that opera even Wagner needs to be sung. When I read first about Xs or Ys productions and insights of any production I instantly think the singers probably sounded like cats and dog.

Hyperbolic maybe but............ When the Producers the Sets and other visuals SING Tristan, Brunnhilde. Isolde, Norma or Abigaille then I will rethink my position.

Here is Shaw RE: RING as capitalism. Well written but I imagine another mind could have seen the Ring as a Garden of Eden modern myth set in the Norse Forests. Fun speculation but,,,,,,,,,,,,

Wagner as Revolutionist
http://www.online-literature.com/george_bernard_shaw/perfect-wagnerite/4/

If Shaw were correct why did NOT Wagner set his Ring in the 1840/50s etc? maybe he liked the Norse Forests and that is what he saw his tetrology as.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2012 4:17:34 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Georges C. Clermont----I have seen more modern operas where the roles are cast to more believable performers. Yet the usual excuse for the 'Ring' cycle is that it makes so much a demand on the singers. Your example of the problems arising from not arousing the audiences level of fantasy is poignant.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2012 4:25:49 PM PDT
Piso Mojado says:
Wagner didn't set his "trilogy with prologue" in the 1840s because it is, in part, allegory. His chief aim, by the time he wrote his libretti and composed the music, was to re-write the Norse sagas and the Edda, but perhaps with some relevance to his time, and with a sideglance at Aeschylus's "Oresteia", which I don't know as well as I'd like to.

With casts like those you name, John, the setting and staging hardly mattered. When I saw the "Ring" in Bayreuth in one of the first cycles after the War, the costumes and sets had been destroyed, so the staging was a simple incllined parabola backed by a gray cyclorama from floor to ceiling, really minimal. I've just read about that Munich opera is producing an "austerity" Ring cycle with minimal sets that closely resemble those I saw at Bayreuth.

My nephew's friend Klaus Florian Voight is singing in it. My nephew Stephan Ruegamer often sings the role of Loge for Barenboim in "Rings" at Berlin State Opera, La Scala, and Spain.

I've responded to mentions of Chereau's staging because some were puzzled by it, some didn't like it (I didn't myself), but I believe that Shaw's idea is relevant to Chereau's staging and might help to explain and understand it. although I'd be quite happy with a bare stage, Flagstad, Lehmann, Melchior, Hotter, Kipnis, Klose, and company. Eveb Moedl, Neidlinger, Frick & Co. But where are they singing? If you don't have voices, you have to distract the public with something else.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2012 4:34:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2012 5:50:24 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
Piso Mojado says:

Wagner didn't set his "trilogy with prologue" in the 1840s because it is, in part, allegory. His chief aim, by the time he wrote his libretti and composed the music, was to re-write the Norse sagas and the Edda, but perhaps with some relevance to his time, and with a sideglance at Aeschylus's "Oresteia", which I don't know as well as I'd like to.

==============
Friend

My point is let it be . The newfangled Ring setting Reviews almost always talk last and little about the singing as though it was an afterthought. Well given the non-abilities of some of the singers maybe it is at least judicious.

Regards-John

Posted on Aug 4, 2012 5:01:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2012 5:02:48 PM PDT
I realize this is somewhat off topic and/or may have already been brought up in this thread, but I would like to reccomend this. Die Nibelungen Directed by Fritz Lang, I believe this is one of the greatest films ever made.
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  26
Total posts:  125
Initial post:  Jul 22, 2008
Latest post:  Aug 8, 2012

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