It always angers me, when certain minds don't or don't want to understand something new and different, poo-pooh-ing it from the safety of past productions they think are superior. The idea or ideology is well explained by the Director and reiterated several times in the printed booklets so all it would take is some thinking to appreciate what's going on. Also to use Churchill's immortal words: 'this is not the end or the beginning of the end, but perhaps the (end) of the beginning'.' Judging already by this Rheingold, I believe the Weimar team succeeded with this different, interesting and entertaining new version,a new Ring that develops and so magnificently culminates in the Gotterdammerung. (I saw it and believe me, it's worth the wait)
Wagner's connection to Weimar and his effort to gain Liszt's support for the project is what gave the designers the idea to use Siegfrieds Tod, the very first drama Wagner wrote and dedicated to Liszt as a framework for their cycle. The struggle for world domination between two powers, in this case Wotan and Alberich is the central theme with both willing to take part in the stage action. Alberich is a powerful figure, by no means a dwarf, but puts on the dwarf costume deliberately to break through the `partition' that separates him from the action.
The gods are a bunch of half-drunk, decadent and stupid wasters sitting around the kitchen table waiting for the underprivileged but very clever demi-god Loge to help them out of trouble Wotan got them into. As this most action packed opera enfolds, with Wagner's powerful ,compassionate and dramatic music, there is an uneasy triumph at the end, but signaling tragedy yet to come.
Sets are minimalistic, but incisive. Small theatre working with local, but excellent singing artists, Mowes as Alberich and Caves as Loge are absolutely superb, this performance works on all levels and very satisfying. The young conductor from Texas, Carl St. Clair breathes musical life into it and certainly sounds dynamic and passionate, truly Wagnerian.