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 Post subject: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:07 pm 
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The first installment of the new Ring began last night with "Das Rheingold" on our local PBS channel. The cast included Bryn Terfel, Dwayne and Richard Croft,Eric Owens, and Stepfanie Blythe among others, Levine conducted. Although I found the singing to be uniformly excellent I felt the emphasis to be too much geared toward the stage craft of this production.I have seen the Met's previous Gunther Schneider-Siemssen/Schenk Wagner productions which I preferred much more to this abomination. When this production is telecast in the U.K. and elsewhere I hope others in this forum will comment.

Here are some reviews:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1bc2f61e-cb1f-11df-95c0-00144feab49a.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703882404575519793866405582.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/opera/8030602/Das-Rheingold-Metropolitan-Opera-New-York-review.html

http://www.operatoday.com/content/2010/10/das_rheingold_m.php

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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:44 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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I can't say I'm a fan of Wagner, but the singing you found "uniformly excellent", yet your final word on the production is "this abomination". Normally I might turn a blind eye to suspect staging if the singing was really first class, because that in itself is a rare thing. What was it about the "stage craft" that took the shine away from the great singing?

That said, it does seem that truly ridiculous stagings are becoming increasingly the rule rather than the exception.

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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:25 pm 
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Digiti You better get used to new interpretations of operas - It's here to stay --- Peter Gelb commented that opera needs to be "renewed"
Wagner would have loved this production and that is enough for me ...........LePage took it to another dimension -- You would never have seen an actual descent into the underground of the Nibelungens and you certainly would not have seen a beautiful visualization of the Gods entering Valhalla by going over the rainbow bridge...hey you have to try something different ---
Abomination is a strong word .....


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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:40 am 
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Chris,

Nice to see you posting here finally. We need more members with open minds. Welcome.

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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:24 pm 
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Digiti wrote:
Chris,

Nice to see you posting here finally. We need more members with open minds. Welcome.

A production which you promote here yet at the same time you describe as an "abomination"? My mind is still open to receive an explanation? :D

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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:25 pm 
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Rod, I should have said myself excluded as far as open mind is concerned :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:52 pm 
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Digit's statement made perfect sense to me once I had read three of the reviews he gave links for. (The first barred me unless I registered or paid, and I declined to do that---so missed out!).

It seems from the descriptions that the production employed such far out scenic effects, extremely dramatic and eye-catching, and on the cutting edge of modernity that the whole focus of and point of the opera is obscurred.

Digiti said that the vocalists were excellent and from the reviews they appear to have performed pretty well. Perhaps their performances would have been supported and complemented even better by a less avante garde production?

I don't particularly like some of the more recent opera settings where the aim seems to be to be created for effect and to startle and even disturb. ( I spoke of my dislike of this for a Handel production, when it was an earlier topic).

Opera review even went as far as to predict that there were so many dangers inherent in this set that sooner or later some item will fail and there will be a tragedy. A glorious death? But one that need not have happened! Surely such extreme scenic effects are not necessary to complement Wagner's stirring music?

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:54 am 
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Polly,

I have been watching the two other installments of the Ring these last two nights: Walkure and Siegfried..I guess I am getting used to the stage"machine" because by the time Siegfried is being performed it does not seem to be quite as objectionable to me now as before. The video projections on the scenery are very effective like rivers and the flying Forest Bird . The immense mockup of the dragon Fafner sung by Hans-Peter Konig was well done as well. The tenor Jay Hunter Morris is excellent in the extremely difficult role of Siegfried. He hardly ever leaves the stage for opera's four and a half hours. Deborah Voigt is as good a Brunhilde as we can get today, Brynn Terfel is a very good Wotan/Wanderer but I fear for the health of his voice in the long run.
I still favor traditional stagings but I can understand those who never saw the tetrology before might actually like this conception by the Cirque du Soleil's Lepage.

Another effect of this stage setting is the fact that it may help the singers acoustically because they sing downstage in front of the set so that their voices do not have to fill the deep vast rear of the Met's stage .Their vocal projection to the audience may be easier because of this.

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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:50 am 
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Hi Digiti,

Yes, I did notice your last point on the setting requiring the singers to sing at the front of the stage, infront of the complex stage setting, as it was mentioned in the reveiws. That was a point in its favour as it was a position that would be very helpful to the singing cast in the projection of their voices into the auditorium. The strain on the singers' voices would be immense if they were placed deep within the stage itself.

The modern trends for productions with unusual staging and costuming seem here to stay, so I expect that this old stager will have to take herself in hand and keep up with the times!!!

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:59 am 
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I guess Digiti won't be buying this...


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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:58 am 
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Digiti wrote:
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The first installment of the new Ring began last night with "Das Rheingold" on our local PBS channel. The cast included Bryn Terfel, Dwayne and Richard Croft,Eric Owens, and Stepfanie Blythe among others, Levine conducted. Although I found the singing to be uniformly excellent I felt the emphasis to be too much geared toward the stage craft of this production.I have seen the Met's previous Gunther Schneider-Siemssen/Schenk Wagner productions which I preferred much more to this abomination. When this production is telecast in the U.K. and elsewhere I hope others in this forum will comment.

...

Levine conducted Rheingold and Valkyrie, but Fabio Luisi did Siegfried and Gotterdammerung. Levine didn't conduct the whole Ring for PBS because he had a bad back as I recall.

Watched the whole series and agree that the singing was uniformly good. (I can understand the cliche about the fat lady singing; Jay Hunter Morris was a very credible Siegfried on the other hand.) As for the Robert Lepage set, I didn't find it an abomination at all; I've seen worse certainly. I have to gran that the money and effort expended on that rotating plank contraption was probably excessive for the result produced.

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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:35 pm 
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That contraption does seem a little over the top, the engineers must be sweating every performance in case there is a mechanical failure.

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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:05 am 
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I saw Feanor’s posting in, “What are you listening to”, and realised that he hadn’t been aware of Digiti’s new posting on Wagner’s “Ring Cycle”. However although I had been following up on that topic, I did learn more from Feanor’s attachment.

What beautiful photos--- how blue Brünhilde’s eyes, how handsome, too, was Siegfried!!! Somehow, although Bryn Terfil was supposed to look warrior-like and fierce he retained a teddy-bear like quality---in the photography, at least!

I took advantage of “More Info from the Met”, (under the graphics), and discovered the two videos. The first was the trailer to the “Behind the Scenes Documentary”. (Rod had attached a YouTube video of this in the relevant topic), and secondly, “A video preview of the production”.

I found them fascinating and very well filmed. How wonderful it would’ve been to be there at the Metropolitan Theatre---to share in the performance and atmosphere. From the filming, the drama, tension and excitement seemed as though it was almost unendurable. And I am no Wagner fan, being almost a stranger to his works.

The scenes of tectonic activity in Iceland providing ideas for the stage-settings , was absorbing and interesting.

I roamed further in the 'Met Information' and listened to the surprisingly long Mp3 samples. I particularly liked “Siegfried’s Funeral March”, from Götterdämmerung, for its rich and brooding atmosphere.The melodic content was stirring with great use of woodwind, brass and timpani adding to the dramatic impact. The sample music was 05.03 minutes long. I am now happily browsing in YouTube for videos of this and other productions that have been uploaded.

I am glad that you posted, Feanor, as it encouraged me to have a further and deeper look at the subject. I too, wasn’t aware that, “What are you Listening to”, was for CDs only---so sooner or later I would have fallen foul of TMT!!!! Never mind, it has all ended up to our advantage, and perhaps encouraged us all to take another look!

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:13 am 
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pollyp78 wrote:
I too, wasn’t aware that, “What are you Listening to”, was for CDs only---so sooner or later I would have fallen foul of TMT!!!! Never mind, it has all ended up to our advantage, and perhaps encouraged us all to take another look!

I presume you too did not notice the other thread for video/TV watching that has been in existence for years? No I don't believe any of you missed it, but I've changed the title of the 'listening to' thread so there will be no excuses in future for such lethargy.

Olympus has spoken.
^O^

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 Post subject: Re: Metropolitan Opera's Lepage/Gelb Wagner Ring Cycle
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:32 pm 
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The Metropolitan Opera's production of Wagner's Ring cycle has won a Grammy for Best Opera Recording...
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/features/ga ... -recording
http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/ ... einHD.aspx

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wagner-Der-Ring ... B008ER9QKG
http://www.metoperashop.org/shop/der-ri ... order-9608
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