Post by Bert Coules
Thanks for that. I'm far more interested in the idea of a period staging
than a period musical approach, but I don't see how the result can possibly
amount to much more than guesswork: though we do have Wagner's stage
directions and accounts of him rehearsing the first Ring, merely to
reproduce the original movements in the original scenery and with the
original lighting (or a facsimile achieved with modern means) can't get
anywhere near what actually happened in 1876. And even if that were somehow
possible, the *effect* of it would still be unattainable, since a modern
audience can't possible react as the first one did, not only because the
work no longer has the impact of something excitingly new and controversial
but also because a style of performance which was once entirely familiar and
expected would now be little more than a curiosity.
But all that said, if it were done properly and done well I'd love to see
Very, very interesting, and I hope they get on with it. Similar claims, musically, were made for the Dutch Ring with Harmut Haenchen, and it produced some not uninteresting results in the video abd CD recordings. However, for me, and I know for others, it rather foundered on the actual conducting. Haenchen isn't bad, but he isn't among the great Wagner conductors, and hasn't entirely mastered the art of keeping the dramatic momentum going in mid-act. He had some very uneven casting, too, including Jeanine Altmeyer's creaky Brunnhilde and the world's smallest Siegfried (shorter than Mime!). And of course the Pierre Audi staging, while by no means the worst around, didn't help with any authentic feel.
So I think a lot is going to depend on just how well Nagano handles it,and his track record doesn't entirely encourage me; I did like his Love for Three Oranges, but his Billy Budd (which is more Wagnerian than Britten liked to admit) was rather lacklustre. Also, what their idea of "historic" stagign amounts to; it could be fearful camp, or just plain dull. I remember an attempt to reproduce a historic Walkure staging for Rolf Thiele's film based on Thomas Mann stories, Walsungenblut -- that wasn't too bad, but... It's got to be better then the one in the Highlander films, though. Anyway, many thanks for this.