Magazine article Opera Canada

The Copenhagen Ring

Magazine article Opera Canada

The Copenhagen Ring

Article excerpt

THE COPENHAGEN RING

Royal Danish Opera

Decca: 074 3264

Recorded in May 2006, this Wagner Ring cycle was pare of Royal Danish Opera's first season in its stunning, Henning Larson-designed opera house. One of the most expensive and best-equipped houses ever built, this staging is a showcase for its technical capabilities. Seating 1500-1700 in various configurations, it is relatively small by North American standards (the Met seats almost 4,000). As a result, the cast sings largely with-out forcing the sound, allowing tenor Stig Andersen, for example, to sing both Siegmund and Siegfried in the same cycle, a feat rarely attempted where greater volumes of sound are needed.

Until this production, Copenhagen had not seen the fern? since 1912. Its a harmless affair, neither scaling the intellectual heights of the 1976 Patrice Chereau Bayreuth ffing, nor sinking to the banal depths of the multi-director Stuttgart production a quarter century later. Instead, this is a relatively literal telling of the story, though all from Brunnhilde's perspective. Each opera is set in a different decade--Das Rheingold in the 1920s, Die Walkure in the 1950s, Siefried in 1968 and Gotterdammerung in the late 1990s--and unfolds a flashbacks in Brunnhilde's memory. This, in part, is why directory Kasper Bech Holten's staging has been described as a "Feminist Ring."

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For all its ingenuity, there is something self-consciously clever about the production. …

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