Mstation Classical Reviews

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Mon, 30 May 2005

Wagner, Das Rheingold

Falk Struckmann, Graham Clark, Gunter von Kannen,
Lioba Braun, Kwanchui Youn
Bertrand de Billy
Harry Kupfer
2 DVD's, Opus Arte

This is the prelude to Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, a three day extravaganza of kunstartwerke (total art work), a Wagner conception that involved a flowing, non-repetitive form of music with attention to every detail of staging and performance. The words "control freak" apply!

One of the interests in reasonably frequently performed pieces is the interpretation: what have the organisers made of all this? Sometimes, these days, we have politically correct versions that would make the authors utter curses from the grave, and at others there are versions that play around with presentation in such a way as to suggest the passing whims of a teenager -- totally skin deep.

This performance is a bit of a mixture. The staging and costumes suggest the teenager but the performance is, if not perfectly classically Wagnerian (and if not, why bother?) at least a close cousin.

All of this, of course, is relevant on a DVD where it isn't on CD -- we can see what's going on. Once we can see, it colours our judgement. And tastes differ markedly on what is good and bad visually. This isn't bad, it's just not a classic performance. (Count K)

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