Similar, but not identical review is published on The Wholenote Magazine website, [...] (by myself) and under Copyright The WholeNote media 2010.
The last, cataclysmic installment of Wagner's monumental Ring from Weimar is very much a vision of the director, Michael Schultz. His strong philosophy is most manifest here where his pessimistic views are aided by the apocalyptic story. "There are tears in the world/as though God had died..." The grief is never ending.
To the cruelty and murder so prevalent in the drama the director adds his own issues: cruelty to women and even to defenseless animals. The 2nd act turns into a pandemonium of mass rape by the Gibichung thugs (reminding us of British soccer hooligans). Brunnhilde's horse, Grane is portrayed by a wonderful pantomime actress with flowing white hair much abused throughout by Hagen and the adolescents also added to the production. The Director believes that children of the world are cast out, helpless therefore alienated and aggressive. They witness all major turn of events but unable to participate and move around in curiosity, with blood-stained hands.
Difficult to describe this theatrical experience with words, one really has to see how powerfully it's handled by sparse visual means. . Stage background is black throughout; there are virtually no sets and lighting pays a prominent role. So memorable to see Siegfried tenderly mourned by Grane, the long suffering horse and at the final scene water is cascading from above over the abused women, who are reborn & cleansed by Brunnhilde's self sacrifice and redemption. I recommend for anyone to read the very intelligent and detailed program notes where Schultz explains his viewpoint for the production.
Young American conductor, St. Clair keeps tight control and never lets the tension sag . The cast is very strong. Renatus Meszar as Hagen, is a formidable presence and even more formidable voice .English Soprano Catherine Foster easily conquers the endurance test of Brunnhilde's role.(It's interesting to note that she started out her career as a nurse in Birmingham!) Siegfried, Norbert Schmittberg, is treated as vulnerable, somewhat naïve plaything for the evil Gibichungs, a fine choice for not being the typical beefcake Wagner tenor. Gunther, portrayed as weak and somewhat tragicomical, sung and acted wonderfully by Mario Hoff.
Great theatre, a moving production that will give you food for thought. .