Music with Ease > The Melbourne Ring Cycle - Opera Australia, 2013 - A Review (Der Ring des Nibelungen - Wagner)
The 2013 Melbourne Ring Cycle
The above two diagrams show the poor use of the stage area.
If you are going to have real fire, then do it with style that a hero cant overcome easily (as the next two photos of other world productions show).
The slaying of Fafner the dragon is equally poorly handled in the 2013 Cycle.
Both the forest and the slaying of Fafner can be seen by the audience (ENO, 1973).
We only see the outside of the dragon's lair (Melbourne Ring Cycle 2013). There is no forest, there is no dramatic slaying (red streamers shot out from a gun don't count!) and strangely the dragon reverts to his naked human form.
The Rope of Destiny scene was interestingly done. Instead of spinning, the norns were repairing the damage done by the giants Fasolt and Fafner as we have previously seen above.
The ride of the Valkyries with its exciting energetic theme is always difficult to pull off. I appreciated the effort to have them flying (see next photo) but on stiff unmoveable swings with them hanging on for dear life. The stiffness didnt go with the energetic music.
Imagine my amazement at seeing the Melbourne premiere production of King Kong the Musical with its similar Valkyrie-like scene with men descending on iron girders (see next photo). This part of King Kong was absolutely stunning.
This experience occurred in between seeing the second opera (Valkyrie) and third opera (Siegfried) of the Melbourne Ring Cycle.
However, the Melbourne production of the RIng cycle I believe for the first time ever dramatically depicted the slain warriors being airlifted to Valhalla.
After Brunhilde did her athletic run up a huge ramp, the director showed even less concern for poor Siegfried. He dies among suited men...
... then after white washing his face, he is made to stand still for the last half hour of the opera.
Brunhilde is made to stand beside him for ten minutes or so without riding into the flames.
So real fire again and a building is partially engulfed, but no dramatic collapse of Valhalla and no overflowing of the Rhine as was called for by Wagner's original storyline
Now, there were some exciting creative visions but they didnt match up with what Wagner described in the music. Unfortunately too many of the scenes didnt really match up with anything.
We see Fafner in his human form putting on his dragon makeup while a huge video of the scene is projected onto the front of what is to become the lair (see above photo).
The gold ingots of Rhinegold treasure are the gold boxes for Ipads which can't be seen past the first five rows.
If a political or environmental statement is to be made, then it should be immediately clear to the audience. As previously seen, concentrating on hanging stuffed animals just detracts from the drama on stage.
*** FURTHER RESOURCES ABOUT THE 2013 MELBOURNE RING CYCLE ***
Video: Director Neil Armfield speaks about The Melbourne Ring Cycle
Highlights and insights about The Melbourne Ring Cycle 2013
More Reviews of The Melbourne Ring and Richard Wagner Operas
Michael Shmith (The Age)
Stephen Fry on his love for Wagner's operas
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The above review was written by Duncan McFarland.
Photo credits: Jeff Busby; Wikimedia Commons
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