Richard Wagner – Das Rheingold (1854)

The Rainbow Bridge at the conclusion of Das Rheingold, in Robert Lepage's production.

The Rainbow Bridge at the conclusion of Das Rheingold, in Robert Lepage’s production.

Watched Robert Lepage’s 2010 staging of Wagner’s Das Rheingold at the Met, with Levine conducting. I was interested particularly how “the machine” served the staging, and I am unconvinced, with singers sliding here and there, and guy ropes keeping others from sliding at all. It reminded me a bit of Edmonton winter sidewalks on a very cold stage, with the computer animations the lesser Northern Lights; and a very peculiarly striated rainbow bridge at the end of the opera. But the opera itself, that’s another thing altogether: it’s own complete world commenting on ours. And it remains right that Loge stays on earth and chooses not enter a compromised Valhalla.

Re-reading Deryck Cooke’s I Saw the World End, his incredible, but lamentably unfinished, study of The Ring, I find again his summary of the first scene of Rheingold: “It says that absolute world-power can be achieved by ravishing and exploiting the raw material of nature, but such an action is possible only for one who has expelled love from his being….”

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