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But, if a Ring performance were simply about philosophy made flesh, then it would be a very dry thing indeed. Fifty years ago, producers would have been a little surprised at our obsession with making Wagner's philosophy concrete in the staging. They would have been more concerned about presenting the music and drama in as vivid a way possible.

And it is on this level that Warner's staging works wonderfully. Whatever its undertow, Warner and designer Stefanos Lazaridis are creating for the Royal Opera a Ring which has a very handsome look and with fine personenregie; a Ring which is eminently revivable with a series of different casts.

Bryn Terfel as Wotan in the Covent Garden production of 'Die Walküre'. © 2005 Clive Barda
Bryn Terfel as Wotan in the Covent Garden production of 'Die Walküre'. © 2005 Clive Barda

It is Warner's personenregie, Pappano's musical direction and the commitment of a fine cast which enabled this opera to succeed so triumphantly as a performance, rising far above any concerns we might have about the theories used in the planning of the production.

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Copyright © 20 March 2005 Robert Hugill, London UK

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