Monday, January 02, 2012

Rolling on the Floor

Peter Gelb has an article in the Huffington Post defending the Lepage Ring. I started laughing right here, half-way through the third paragraph:
Of course, because our Ring is revolutionary, not everyone supports it. 
I was still laughing when I got to this, in the next paragraph:
I strongly believe in Lepage's literal but imaginative approach.
Of course, he offers nothing to demonstrate the revolutionary nature of the Lepage Ring...because it's not. "Literal but imaginative" doesn't equal revolutionary, and he must know that. The character interpretations are middle of the road; most reviewers have mentioned that the singers don't seem to have much directorial guidance, in fact. The damn Machine is a big old distraction, adding little value for a lot of time and money. Rheinmaidens who swim are nothing new; see photos of Met and Bayreuth productions going back to, um, 1876 for swimming Rheinmaidens. 
Hopefully, with the completion of the cycles, this Ring will stand out as one of the Met's greatest feats. 
No, Peter. It's going to stand out as one of the Met's biggest wastes of money. 


Joe Barron said...

Now,wait a minute. I did see the live broadcast of Walkure, and I found much in it to like. Some of La Machine's effects were stunning, but then, there was that 45-minute delay while they worked out a computer problem. The singing was great, and the orchestra was in fine form. Looking forward to Gotterdammerung next month. I've discussed direction in my own blog: There's not a lot you can do with people standing around for hours singing at each other. Most of the time, they just have to stand there. I guess we're not as lucky as some folks who live on the West Coast and have their own revolutionary Ring to go to. ;)

Lisa Hirsch said...

I think it is impossible to judge the quality of singing from the broadcasts. I read newspaper reviews and bloggers and there was plenty of criticism of Terfel and Voigt. I did not find the Machine's effects any better than what I've seen done with less expensive and finicky stage equipment - that's a good part of why it's so maddening to have Gelb saying the production is "revolutionary." Seriously, you should see Seattle's flying Rheinmaidens - really magical and you don't worry for a second that they might be ground up by the Machine.

As for what you can do with people who are singing - uhhhh again I say, Seattle Ring, or either of the two Ring productions I've seen in SF.

Joe Barron said...

You make me ashamed to live on the East Coast.