Spoiler: What Bayreuth's 2013 Ring Really Looks Like

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 | 9:49:00 am


Of course, "unofficial" descriptions have been in the wild for sometime (as indeed the odd photo) but Gramophone have now come out of the closet and provide a more "official" description, based on dress rehearsals of Rheingold. A brief description follows and a link to more. As expected, this does indeed suggest that the themes are very similar to Fulham Opera's ongoing Ring Cycle. Coincidence? Well you never know.  Do not read if you like surprises.

"...each installment has a separate locale: Texas (Das Rheingold), Baku (Die Walküre), East Germany (Siegfried) and Wall Street (Götterdämmerung)."

"...the curtain rose on a sleazy roadside inn along Route 66 called The Golden Motel. The stage swiveled to reveal a Texaco petrol station and a convenience store/bar. The flag and emblem of the Lone Star State put to rest any doubt about where we were supposed to be. The Rhine Maidens lounged by the motel pool, drying their laundry and barbecuing. Alberich dove into the shallow water in speedos and cowboy boots to retrieve the gold, but not before munching on a Bratwurst (he didn’t so much as eat it as spit the chunks out into the water) and squirting himself with yellow mustard. Much of the onstage action throughout the evening was simultaneously filmed and projected onto a large video monitor: a voyeuristic technique that suggested reality TV or a soap opera. The gods were up in their motel room, rolling around in bed. Wotan might have been a gangster or pimp and Fricka and Freia, busty, blonde and caked with makeup, could have been Divine’s slimmer cousins. Generally speaking, the costumes and wigs would not have been out of place in a Saturday Night Live sketch about Las Vegas hustlers in the 1970s. Donner, with his cowboy hat and moustache, faced down a tattooed, crowbar-wielding Fafner with a pistol while the goddesses barricaded themselves in their room. At one point, it seemed that the giants were going to put a dent into Wotan’s vintage black Mercedes, which was easily the swankiest prop of the evening".

"There was quite a bit of action in confined spaces, such as the motel room or the convenience store/bar by the petrol station, with most of the interior details only visible via the video screen. The counter bar, for instance, was decorated with posters from B-movies that had the word ‘gold’ in the title, a pinball machine and a jukebox that a bunch of presumably drugged-out extras danced to (silently, of course) in the final scene."

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