Magazine article Musical Opinion

The Garden Ring Comes Full Cycle

Magazine article Musical Opinion

The Garden Ring Comes Full Cycle

Article excerpt

Keith Warner's new Ring Cycle for the Royal Opera House came to a triumphant climax on 17 April with a Götterdämmerung which went a long way to explaining many of the problems which had appeared inherent in the earlier operas. As the Cycle has progressed the settings have become increasingly less fussy and heavily materialistic. We can now see that this is an essential part of Warner's approach to the work. Old fashioned it may be, but the confrontation of individuals with the State is still a viable political reality, and, in one of the most optimistic conclusions to the Cycle I can recall, it is the individual who triumphs. A barren landscape, more Becket than Wagner, is eventually burnt out to leave us with the ordinary people, and a symbolic, androgynous figure who raises its hands in hope. It is remarkably simple yet stunningly effective.

This, of course, would be nothing without world class singers and an orchestra on top form under Antonio Pappano. Noms and Rhine Maidens are cast from strength, maintaining a fascinating similarity; the Rhine Maidens seem to be the naughty younger sisters to the Noms.

Mikoko Fujimura is a powerful Waltraute, the voice ringing heroically through the house, and Peter Sidhom a dangerous Alberich. But if these are all good, the core are magnificent. John Tomlinson's black humour constantly erupts to make his Hagen a highly subtle and sinister individual, constantly alive to detail and in total control of the situation. It makes perfectly good sense that he remains on stage during the Waltraute Scene as he is the essential controlling factor in it. …

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