Monday, August 10, 2015

Das Rheingold - Bayreuther Festspiele 2015

A dream came true: I'm able to see Frank Castorf's infamous Ring in its third year run. I'm a fan of most Castorf's productions in Volksbuhne Berlin, so I had high hopes for his in Bayreuth.

A motel by route 66 as Walhall? A strange choice at first thought, but it seems Castorf didn't really get caught up in that thought. Per usual: the weirder the set, the better. Mesmerizing enough, he could have taken a crazy way, interpreting each character in the opera in very obnoxious ways that we can't recognize them anymore, given that his setting of storytelling is weird enough already. Instead of doing that, he constantly portrayed the gods as weak humans: unfaithful, greedy, low-class Texan mini gangster family. The Rheintochter: prostitutes. Alberich/Mime: LGBT supporting(?) petty criminals living in RV. The giants as gangster/assembly workers/unclear. Despite these unclear basic backgrounds of these characters, I very much enjoyed his consistent trashy, rude, "egalitarian" interpretation of the protagonists.

A huge LED screen was placed above the motel, giving more insight of parallel actions to the audience.
The "Golden Motel" building has 3 sides: the above ground pool in the backyard (where Alberich took the Rheingold from the Rheintochter), the convenient store/petrol station, where all the crazy things happen, and the front door/Wotan's bedroom, where the both negotiation  scenes between Wotan and Fasolt/Fafner happened.

Wolfgang Koch is impressive as Wotan, both in the vocal and acting department.
Albert Dohmen, a new Alberich for this year's run, seemed a little unfit for the role, that Castorf originally designed in 2013 for a much younger singer, Martin Winkler. No complain for his voice.
John Daszak as Loge was also a highlight of the night.
The rest of the cast are very solid and definitely fulfilled the Bayreuth standard, but nothing spectacular.

A director assistant of Castorf, Patric Seibert plays a statist role in the whole Ring production. In Rheingold, he portrayed the patrol attendant/motel waiter that constantly being bullied by the protagonists. Know more about him & his important role in Castorf's Ring as a disruptive factor here.

A few boos after the curtain closed - way lesser than as reported last summer. Castorf's Ring is really on its way becoming the next cult production after Neuenfels' "Rat-Lohengrin".
Petrenko was loudly cheered, probably for both: his conducting and his coming-soon reign in Berlin.
I'm very excited for the next three nights!!!

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