the same time served as effective metaphors for the violent forces unleashed in the drama. More simply, when the Gibichungs gathered to welcome Brünnhilde and Gunther to their hall, they were not primitive tribesmen in skins but top-hatted shareholders carrying rifles, anticipating a strike in the factory. In the same scene, Hagen flourishing his spear, as an allusion to more traditional presentations of The Ring, acquired a menacing and disquieting presence. Above all, the certainty of the direction, the accuracy with which each line was delivered and conveyed with corresponding facial and bodily movements, enabled one to follow the action with the closeness normally associated with the spoken rather than the musical theatre. The grand gestures of the nineteenth-century theatre, which result inevitably from the massive effort required to sing Wagner's music, appeared entirely natural expressions of the words and music. Consequently, the drama unfolded with an iron compulsion. For all the apparent divergence from the details of the original stage directions, the old master would have recognized in this production a cogent binding of poetry, music, gesture, and staging that was for him the essence of total theatre.