Los Angeles Ring Festival 2010

Seminar at MSMC about the LA Ring Festival 2010

Each Performance is New!

Since posting about “visual humor,” another visit to Achim Freyer’s Rheingold showed how alive and changing the theater performance can be when compared to  recordings or DVDs.

The visual joke mentioned last week no longer appears with the same intensity this week. The circular door in the floor did not open in the new performance. The ropes seemed to pull, but the door did not lift to show the interior of the Nibelung Cave. The gestural drama that took place in the Cave with the dwarves and Mime  did not happen inside the dark interior but took place directly on the stage. Was that a permanent change of performance strategy? Or was it the result of some mechanical glitch that prevented the door from opening? 

The second time around showed the freshness and cogency of the staging. Having been dazzled and puzzled on first visit, the second visit allows the audience to better grasp the symbolic connection of costume and gesture to Wagnerian meaning.  The staging introduces a visual reading of the Wagnerian text, adding another layer. 

This new layer provokes thought without distracting from Wagnerian meaning. It refreshes the opera’s significance by creating non-realistic paintings of the themes. The result is something like a series tableaux that illuminate the text. A novel and profound experience!


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