Magazine article Gramophone

Wagner: Opera North's Acclaimed Production of Wagner's Ring Is Now Available for Streaming on Opera Vision's New Site

Magazine article Gramophone

Wagner: Opera North's Acclaimed Production of Wagner's Ring Is Now Available for Streaming on Opera Vision's New Site

Article excerpt

Already seen live on tour, Opera North's (complete) Ring cycle can be viewed in the BBC's filming for the next few months. Praise has been (rightly) loud for the achievement and interpretation of their first-ever Ring by the company's orchestra--a full complement with massed harps, anvils and the iconic Wagner tubas--under its then-Music Director Richard Fames. It's real opera-orchestra playing, audibly keen to enjoy the solo opportunities presented to them and clearly listening to the singers.

But praise has been perhaps not loud enough for the 'onlie begetter' work of director/designer Peter Mumford. In his ingenious stylized use of a concert platform setting, the singers and a handful of chairs occupy the forestage in front of the fully visible orchestra, the whole backed by three large screens for video of natural effects (water, fire) and projected text narrations from Michael Birkett's The Story of the Ring (their rather Victorian summary of the libretto's epic stage settings and events acts as intriguing spur to the audience's imagination). The onstage performance of the cast, wearing essentially formal evening dress, deliberately removes all props (no sword, ring or spear--they're mimed) and allows little naturalistic movement, but focuses--crucially and movingly--on the emotions of the characters. …

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