<< -- 3 -- Robert Hugill VITAL PERFORMANCE
Things get a little more puzzling in Act 3. The basic set is a large space whose walls and floor are covered with a grubby red animal print carpet, looking for all the world like a bad cinema foyer after a busy night. The Valkyrie rock is obviously their work place, but it is unfortunate that Warner does not team up some of the most memorable music in this opera with some memorable images. Most of the action for the Valkyries takes place in front of a huge, grubby white moveable screen which fills most of the cinema foyer. When they talk about their horses, they play with skeletons of horses heads. And, just once, we see them at work as using a very unsavoury mattress they create a perfect being out of body parts. When Brünnhilde and Sieglinde appear they, not unnaturally, have Siegmund's body with them.
After Wotan's farewell he takes Brünnhilde behind the white screen and during the long orchestral postlude, we see nothing of them just the evocative image of an empty doorway. Finally, at the very end Brünnhilde is revealed, lying with her shield and spear on the Ram's Horn chaise longue, a true sacrifice to Fricka, and all around the Valkyrie watch from high up.
Jorma Silvasti as Siegmund and Katarina Dalayman as Sieglinde in the Covent Garden production of 'Die Walküre'. © 2005 Clive Barda
So by the end of the opera we are very much aware that the Ring is a work in progress, we will have to wait until the remaining two operas have been performed before coming to firm conclusions about Warner's philosophy and how the loose ends and confusing elements of the staging will finally come together (if they will at all). So far, the critical establishment has been a little muted about this philosophical element in Warner's staging.
Copyright © 20 March 2005
Robert Hugill, London UK