Headshot of La Cieca

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The gospel truth

“The critical reaction to the Robert Lepage’s new production of Die Walküre at the Met leaves this contrarian reviewer in something of a quandary. Not only was pretty much everybody underwhelmed, but there was a consensus about what (they thought) was wrong: the clunkiness of The Machine, the lack of poetry in the latter part of the first act, the clumsy path to the final tableau.  No one doesn’t want to just heap on the contempt, but at the same time it’s not easy to build a case for Lepage’s invention thus far in the Ring.”

69 comments

  • Signor Bruschino says:

    has there been any discussion, rumor, speculation of rheingold and walkure being ‘fixed’ before the full cycle? or some serious SERIOUS tech work so it doesn’t creak more than liza minnelli’s hip in a rainstorm

  • Hans Lick says:

    I’ll be happy if they get rid of the plasma screen TV show PowerPoint demo of Siegmund’s backstory in Act I of Walkuere. Utter kitsch telling you nothing Wagner doesn’t illustrate better. Oh, and the Act III finale could use a re-think but I doubt will get it.

  • Hans Lick says:

    But I don’t get the complaints about the end of Act I, where the planks take us miraculously and immediately out of that dreadful house and into the woods, which is just where the score has been urging us to go since the door flew open. I HATE AND DESPISE stagings of the Ring where they DO IT on the living room floor in defiance of every message the music is telling them (and us), which is: Leave that dreadful house and explore the Great Wide World, and do it NOW.

    • scifisci says:

      Hans Lick: Have you seen the way this happens in the copenhagen ring? The twins go out through a window as the house rotates and trees come down to reveal a forest. Pretty cool stuff….that ring has lots of impressive but unflashy stagecraft that serves the drama quite well.

      My personal problem with the end of Lepage’s act 1 is that awful color. Toxic waste green=spring?? Who signed off on that??

      In general I agree totally with JJ’s assessment of the production. I think it would be really interesting and revealing to see what lepage’s working notes for the ring were. All gelb ever mentioned about the ring in past years was that lepage has some cool rotating set in mind, and i really wonder if that’s all lepage ever told him. Do we imagine he had or has an overall concept around which to build his ring, like kupfer’s road of history, holten’s feminist/matriarchal society, or chereau’s capitalism? Or would that have been seen as a bad thing since concept=eurotrash? All I ever gathered from what lepage has said is some vague BS about the “natural/sensual/animal world” --whatever that means….
      It really makes you wonder who’s at the helm at the Met when such a debacle (which had 5 years of lead time) happens.

  • Byrnham Woode says:

    Wagner’s stage directions for the end of Act One call for the two of them to rush into each other’s arms passionatly as the curtain falls “as quickly as possible”. It does not say that they should rush out into the forest. Of course they do that later, but I figure Siegfried is conceived right there, under the ash tree, and at just about the time the music stops.

    It’s libretto bowlderizers that have added such watering down as “they rush into the forest”.

    • La Cieca says:

      Right you are about that: the stage direction reads “Er zieht sie mit wütender Glut an sich; sie sinkt mit einem Schrei an seine Brust. -- Der Vorhang fällt schnell.” there is a slight practical problem that there is quite a bit of music, about 30 seconds, after Siegmund’s last sung line. That is why, I think, stage directors devised the time-filling business of having the couple embrace briefly, separate, then determine to flee into the night. (It seems to me that the Schenk had them run out the door, hug once more in the courtyard and then exit.)

      And the energetic music that closes the act is based on a major-key version of the “Freia” motif and therefore is about love, not about flight.

      • lorenzo.venezia says:

        “Deryck Cooke corrected the long-held misconception of the “flight” motif; actually freia’s motif is a hurried version of the Love motif (heard especially in the love of Siegmund and Sieglinde).”

  • grimoaldo says:

    Hans Lick you may hate it but I agree with BWood and look at the stage directions, they do not say a thing about rushing off. The music goes right up to as close as the 19th century could take to the moment of Siegfried’s conception, the music is not depicting “flight” as that motif has been wrongly labelled, but wild passionate love.