Das Rheingold, a Wagnerite’s ambivalence

The Beloved kindly purchased tickets for the complete Ring cycle. I have the luxury of seeing Wagner’s dream opera in it’s entirety within the next few days.  Das Rheingold is this evening.   We were able to catch last season’s production of Das Rheingold and Die Walkure.   The Beloved was much more enchanted, I felt the need to shut my eyes.

Achim Freyer’s production, lauded in LA circles as revolutionary, was to my admittedly conservative taste, clownish. My tastes run towards productions the sainted Ludwig II would have enjoyed, mythic, romantic, fanciful.

Arthur Rackham’s wonderful illustrations express this taste beautifully.

Alberich and the Rhine Maidens

Achim Freyer’s vision of Alberich

As the LA production is winding down my resistance to Freyer’s production  has lost steam. As aggravated as I was by the cartoonish images plastered upon city buses; I knew my chance to see the city’s first production of the Ring Cycle was slipping through my fingers. You can’t bitch about a production, without having seen it in it’s entirety. Freyer has a vision, he has an admirable Brechtian pedigree, I need to see the Cycle in it’s entirety; something I have never done. Wagner himself felt it best to witness his creation four evenings in a row, this is my opportunity.

I have my issues with LA, it’s mad desire to be “unconventional”, “creative”, often just vulgar, but I look forward to this evening’s and the following evenings’ performances.

I must admit, I find this image very striking, I know I would enjoy Mr.Freyer’s sketches, his ideas are wonderful, mythic in their own right. The production, is often lackluster.With that in mind, I will once again take in the music, and this production. I will keep an open mind, difficult for an old curmudgeon.

I can always shut my eyes.

The Wagnerites by the Master, Beardsley

Just in case this production is too horrid, we can always attend the Met’s new production, Das Rheingold opens Sept. 27th.


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