The Achim Freyer production has some hilarious moments (yes, sardonic humor in a Ring production!).
My favorite visual joke is in the Subterranean Cavern where Alberich and Mime (Scene 3) are venting anger on one another, Alberich is abusing Mime, pulling him by the ear, and Mime in turn castigates his slave workers in the mines with cruel whip lashes. Mime turns toward his gang of brow-beaten miners and raises his hands several times, his hands gesturing up and down exactly like a conductor with a large orchestra. The mine dwarves are frantically making agitated gestures as if they were hacking away at bizarre musical instruments. All this pantomine is awkwardly synchronized with the actual music (the musicians in this production are completely hidden by a black cover over the orchestra pit). It’s as if the orchestra with conductor suddenly appear on-stage and make themselves present in the myth.
James Conlon probably smiles every time this scene comes around. It’s very funny once you notice it!