Wagner's 'Siegfried' -
'... when it is sung as beautifully as here, one is humbly grateful.'
To claim this Harry Kupfer version of The Ring as 'among the greatest
productions of modern times' is arrant nonsense. What I have mainly picked up
from more than a half-century of Wagner in various world opera houses is that
his stature as a composer is great enough to withstand the assaults of any
producer, however dotty. This is altogether comforting, as absurdities that
might have made Wagner tear his hair can be endured with an indulgent smile,
in the sure knowledge that the mighty Richard will knock flat most of his
misinterpreters as so many nine-pins. What, then, have we here?
Graham Clark as Mime in Act 1 of Wagner's 'Siegfried'. © 2005 Opus Arte
Above all there is the incomparable Mime of Graham Clark. Let pass the fact
that the designer Hans Schavernoch has apparently located him in a factory that
could have produced Nothungs by the thousand, thus making senseless his opening
remarks about endless toil in front of his toy anvil
[watch -- 'Zwangvolle Plage! Müh' ohne Zweck!',
DVD1 track 2, 0:00-1:01].
Every gesture of this Mime can be watched with delight, and every flicker of
emotion across his expressive face. He clambers over the machinery with the
agility of a monkey, hanging at giddy angles to watch Siegfried's latest bit of
Copyright © 6 July 2005
Robert Anderson, London UK