Monday, February 1, 2016

Wagner's Das Rheingold & Die Walküre in Leipzig

Oper Leipzig will finally reach the conclusion for their Ring des Nibelungen with the premiere of Götterdämmerung later this season. On a snowy weekend in January, I visited the opera house and saw the first two nights of the cycle. Rosamund Gilmore tried to retell the story of the Ring in mediocre but good-looking stage while staying true to the libretto. It's a production neither filled with revelations nor innovations, but with the help of an ensemble of dancers, the action on stage was a bit merrier. 

 Most of the singers came from the house's own ensemble. Guests Andreas Schager (debuting as Siegmund) and Thomas J. Mayer (as Wotan in Die Walküre) made the best impression, considering their level of "Wagner-fame" right now. The rest of the cast was good, with possible improvements - of course. Ulf Schirmer got the tempo most of the time, but lack of enthusiasm and the weird percussion during the ride to Nibelheim really put me off. He's not a Wagnerianer and he doesn't have to be one. Basta. In the end, the Leipzig's Ring production is a possible alternative for Wagner experts (like me, who constantly yearn to see more Wagner every single week) and definitely a worthy production for many beginners. Don't expect anything radical and let's hope the quality of the cast can be better with the growing interest to re-establish this house to its former glory days.



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