Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vensday Wagner Vexation: Wagner's Dream? Or Bob's Machine?

Das Rhinegold: Still Life with Machine
After watching the documentary on Robert Lepage's Ring Cycle on PBS Monday night, and most of Das Rhinegold on Tuesday, I can't help but wonder: What would the opera have been like if M. Lepage had expended as much creative energy directing his singers as he did worrying about the Machine?

Don't get me wrong, I'm impressed by the Machine. Not so much by the drama. My cat could have staged most of Das Rhinegold better than this. Did Lepage really tell poor Stephanie Blythe to stand around looking bewildered all evening? We know Bryn Terfel can act, but you couldn't prove it by last night's broadcast. Richard Croft* (no stranger to regieoper) did his best to look animated, but even he seemed defeated by the lack of stage direction. The rainbow bridge thing was cool, but that's becuase I saw it in the documentary, and I wanted to see how they did it with the stunt doubles. The singing, by and large, was great! Where can I buy the CD?

"We don't need no stinkin' singers.
We've got a Machine!"
 I know the documentary was about the Machine, not really about the Operas, but the only interaction I remember seeing between Lepage and his singers was basically him telling them, "Don't worry, it's safe," as they tripped, slipped, stumbled, and fell; generally expending all their stage energy on navigating the set.

As my readers already know, I am quite open to new ideas in opera; and I was excited about the possibilities of this staging. But even I have to complain when the scenery is the featured attraction.

All this being said, I am TiVo-ing the whole cycle and will watch the rest of it.

Probably with the score in my lap.

TRANSformers! More than meets the eyes!

*WTH is Richard Croft doing singing Wagner? His marvelous instrument should be preserved for the light stuff, the right stuff, the Mozart!

Other Met/Lepage Ring Posts
Looking Up


  1. If Lepage had done what he did for COC's "The Nightingale" or "Bluebeard's Castle" it would have been brilliant.

    Woulda coulda shoulda

  2. Those planks in the last picture make me think of the word "THINK".


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