I've only been a fan of Wagnerian opera since the 1950s, when I saw my first production of The Flying Dutchman, at the original Met. That was a place and that was the way to produce an opera.
The quality of the singing, in this revisionist version, is the only thing which keeps me from giving it a MINUS 5!
Where to begin? I guess the beginning of the opera is the best place. Those familiar with the Paris version, will remember the ballet. In this version, that ballet has been converted, into what, at best, may be described as a modern-jazz version of sperm, swirling and fornicating, around a double-spiral staircase, apparently meant to represent DNA's double helix, while only half of it is rotating and, in the center of it, is an almost comatose Venus, who appears to be completely oblivious to what is happening around her.
The remainder of the staging is dull and monotonous. After that, I didn't think it could get any worse. Well, was I in for a surprise!
I almost fell off my chair, laughing, when the Minstrels made their first appearance, all in cardinal-red "suits," no two of which were alike but all of which appear to have been stolen, from the Wizard of Oz's Munchkins. I kept expecting to see the "horse of a different color" make an appearance.
Later, in the singing contest, we're treated to a reappearance of the Minstrels, this time in gold lamé, completely reminiscent of "The Jersey Boys." When the Minstrels pick up a microphone, of the type used in the 1940s~50s, then get on a stage, which is circular, raised and bottom-lit, like something appropriate to a 1960s-era, sleazy, lounge act, they embarrassed not only themselves but anyone who was watching this abortion.
Then, of course, we have the Pilgrim's March. This piece of music is supposed to be enthralling, uplifting and, if properly performed, should run a shiver down your spine. Not only was it substantially shortened, in overall length but it was absolutely the most timid presentation thereof I've ever heard.
Hopefully, this opera version will be sufficient proof that Nikolaus Lehnhoff (Director) should never be allowed near an operatic stage, except bound, gagged and in the company of armed guards and, even then, restricted to the audience side of the house, then transported, immediately after the performance, to the nearest padded room, to expound the rest of his miserable ideas there.
Gee, I'm glad I didn't speak my mind, about this performance. I might have said something which would offend the director, the producers and the Met.