The Chéreau/Boulez Ring

Apr 20, 2006 12:02 pm
I love the Chéreau/Boulez Bayreuth production and think it is the best production of the Ring (or perhaps any opera) that has ever been made. I find this version to be the most sensible, carefully constructed staging ever. It makes many of the other productions look silly, irresponsible and irrelevant. Boulez is at his best. Not to mention that it is visually stunning and beautiful—the perfect visual compliment to Wagner’s words and music. The costumes, sets and stage direction bring out the social context of Wagner’s composition in a very original way. It is based on the excellent reading of The Ring by George Bernard Shaw, The Perfect Wagnerite. (I would also recommend the book as a good short introduction to The Ring.) Maybe some day there will be a better version, but so far nothing even comes close.

There are other opinions on this of course. There are some that think this production is a heinous abomination and all copies should be destroyed (or something like that). The Met recording is a safe choice. The singing is excellent and the stage design is good but typical.

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~ by severalfourmany on April 20, 2006.

4 Responses to “The Chéreau/Boulez Ring”

  1. Personally, I think the Chéreau Ring is a travesty. I still can’t get over a Siegfried dragon on wheels being visibly pushed around by stagehands. And don’t get me started on what he did with Donner and the Rainbow Bridge. Shaw’s take on the Ring left me totally cold. I’ve mentioned before that I think that a great work of art has a clear focus. With the Ring, it’s that love and greed are mutually exclusive. All of that Marxist baggage dilutes that focus. I was, though, amused somewhat by Shaw’s analogy between the Tarnhelm and a top hat.

  2. I guess that’s where we differ. I think the “Marxist baggage” concentrates the focus. But then I think your description of “love and greed are mutually exclusive” would make a fitting conclusion to Das Kapital.

  3. I think Shaw didn’t like Götterdammerung because he considered it Grand Opera.

  4. It has been twenty years since I have read his essay, but my recollection was that Shaw did not like Götterdammerung because Wagner had lost his focus on creating a clear message for social change and revolution.

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