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<<  -- 3 --  Robert Anderson    THE RING IN CHEMNITZ

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Nibelheim began in deep-hued red, but Alberich's ring brought a touch of glitter to his cavernous toilers' tunnel.

Jürgen Freier as Alberich (left) and Hans-Peter Scheidegger as Wotan in the Oper Chemnitz 2001 production of 'Das Rheingold'. Photo (c) Dieter Wuschanski

His serpent might have terrified anyone, with the exception of Donner's two young boys, who sat in front of me and loved it. The toad was only too visible and mercilessly snapped up by the gods. Siegfried was later to demonstrate his fearlessness by knocking out a couple of Fafner's teeth, and bounding in search of the dragon's heart into the depths of his gaping mouth.

But enough detail. From time to time in the work a vast ring might descend from the flies to confine Brünnhilde on her mountain top and symbolise the all-pervading malevolent power of Alberich's curse. Scenic blocks tended to move almost more than the characters, expanding or contracting the stage, so that Wotan could tower above Siegmund and Hunding before despatching them both, and the Gibichungs' hall could become claustrophobic or festive at will. Michael Heinicke as producer, the sets of Wolfgang Bellach, and the lighting were highly imaginative, yet always at the service of the mighty work.

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Copyright © 5 May 2001 Robert Anderson, London, UK

 

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