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We are told that power corrupts, and Wotan is at once enmeshed in underhand dealings over payment to the giants for the castle. Committed by runes engraved on the spear, he is frankly at a loss how to reward the giants without surrender of the promised Freia. His only resource is the fickle Loge, maddeningly slow in coming forward. His eventual arrival appears to save the situation. He has wandered the world, observed the rape of the gold and Alberich's forging of the almighty ring [listen -- DVD1 track 10 'Endlich Loge!', 0:00-1:26]. Graham Clark looks the part, but when under vocal strain resorts to a Barcelona bark. He advises descent to Nibelheim and theft of the ring, of which the sinister power is constantly felt by the wretched Mime, toiling perforce for his now ruthless brother, Alberich [listen -- DVD2 track 4 'Nibelheim hier', 4:06-5:11].

Günter von Kannen (Alberich) and Francisco Vas (Mime). © 2005 Opus Arte
Günter von Kannen (Alberich) and Francisco Vas (Mime). © 2005 Opus Arte

[watch and listen to a sequence from 'Gezahlt hab' ich' using this link or the player below -- needs an Apple Quicktime plugin -- high speed connection preferred].

Alberich (Günter von Kannen) has been captured by Wotan (Falk Struckmann, left) and Loge (Graham Clark). © 2005 Opus Arte
Alberich (Günter von Kannen) has been captured by Wotan (Falk Struckmann, left) and Loge (Graham Clark). © 2005 Opus Arte

Alberich as toad (or banana) has been captured by the gods and dragged up the escalator. Robbed by brute force of this ring as large as a highly ornamental bracelet, Alberich curses its possessor [listen -- DVD2 track 10 'Bin ich nun frei?', 8:17-9:22]. Hardly has he been cursed when Wotan is further warned off the ring by an Erda whose wisdom may be as old as the hills, but whose person is youthful and attractive enough to tempt Wotan towards siring an energetic clutch of Valkyries [listen -- DVD2 track 13 'Weiche, Wotan, weiche!', 2:20-3:21]. The plot is sufficiently ravelled for the entry to Valhalla to have only ambiguous significance. I have seen it staged as a tug-of-war led by a struggling Wotan, as an elegant minuet of hollow formality; on this occasion it is a slow-motion square-dance designed to raise divine spirits already much depressed. There are no doubts, however, in the Donner of Wolfgang Rauch, who makes a magisterial job of constructing the rainbow bridge [listen -- DVD2 track 15 'Schwüles Gedünst', 0:00-1:30].

Continue to 'Die Walküre' >>

Copyright © 30 March 2005 Robert Anderson, London UK


Wagner: Das Rheingold

OA 0910 D DVD9 16:9 anamorphic NTSC region 0 (worldwide) (2 discs) LPCM Stereo/DTS Surround NEW RELEASE 159'00" 2005 Opus Arte

Falk Struckmann, Wotan; Graham Clark, Loge; Günter von Kannen, Alberich; Lioba Braun, Fricka; Kwanchul Youn, Fasolt; Matthias Hölle, Fafner; Cristina Obregón, Woglinde; Ana Ibarra, Wellgunde; Francisca Beaumont, Flosshilde; Elisabete Matos, Freia; Wolfgang Rauch, Donner; Jeffrey Dowd, Froh; Francisco Vas, Mime; Andrea Bönig, Erda; Harry Kupfer, stage director; Hans Schavernoch, sets; Reinhard Heinrich, costumes; Franz Peter David, lighting; Guerassim Voronkov, assistant musical director; Katharina Lang, assistant stage director; Derek Gimpel, assistant stage director; Enrico de Feo, assistant stage director; Beatrix Lorber, assistant set design; Diego Leetz, assistant lighting; Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu; Bertrand de Billy, musical director

Richard Wagner (1813-1883): Das Rheingold (1869) (Prologue to 'Der Ring des Nibelungen'), opera in one act (four scenes). Recorded live at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona. Original production from Deutsche Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin. Extra features: cast gallery; illustrated synopsis


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