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Once Brünnhilde, Gunther's promised bride, sees the Ring on Siegfried's finger, she realises the enormity of the deception practised on her [watch -- 'Einen Ring sah ich deiner Hand' (Act 2), DVD2 chapter 8, 1:18-2:50]. Under the insistent persuasion of Hagen, and with the pusillanimous agreement of Gunther, she is ready not only to join a plot for the destruction of Siegfried but also disclose the only way it can be accomplished. With Siegfried as huntsman, hunted to his death, Brünnhilde comprehends at last how the hideous misunderstanding had come about. A magic potion prepared by Gutrune, or indeed her 1930s film-star glamour working on a man of total inexperience, had wrought Siegfried's emotional chaos. Brünnhilde silences the clamour surrounding Siegfried's dead body and sweeps Gutrune's claims aside [listen -- 'Schweigt eures Jammers' (Act 3), DVD3 chapter 15, 0:00-1:37].

Deborah Polaski as Brünnhilde in Act 3. DVD screenshot © 2005
Deborah Polaski as Brünnhilde in Act 3. DVD screenshot © 2005

Wagner was sufficiently uncertain how The Ring should end to abandon all the words he might have set (including some he did compose specially for King Ludwig) and leave everything to the orchestra. The stage directions, though, are clear. No matter. Producers worry their brains for some new idea, and Harry Kupfer is no exception. Wotan stalks in for a momentary glimpse at Siegfried's corpse. Hagen fails to get the Ring, but a supernumerary father Alberich does. There, I thought: the world is finally globalised, with capital exultant. But no, the monstrous carbuncle of a Ring disintegrated from Alberich's hand and fell in pieces to the ground. Did the Rhinemaidens get the fragments? I simply don't know. Wagner's orchestral ending, a crowning glory from Bertrand de Billy and his superb team, expounds its message; world news, alas, continues as before.

Copyright © 17 August 2005 Robert Anderson, Cairo, Egypt


Wagner: Götterdämmerung

OA 0913 D 1xDVD5, 2xDVD9 NTSC 16:9 anamorphic region 0 (worldwide) LPCM stereo + DTS digital surround NEW RELEASE 284' 2005 Opus Arte

John Treleaven, Siegfried; Falk Struckmann, Gunther; Günter von Kannen, Alberich; Matti Salminen, Hagen; Deborah Polaski, Brünnhilde; Elsabete Matos, Gutrune, Third Norn; Julia Juon, Waltraute, First Norn; Leandra Overmann, Second Norn; Cristina Obregón, Woglinde; María Rodríguez, Wellgunde; Francisca Beaumont, Flosshilde;

Harry Kupfer, stage director; Hans Schavernoch, sets; Reinhard Heinrich, costumes; Franz Peter David, lighting; Guerassim Voronkov, assistant musical director; Derek Gimpel, Katharina Lang, Enrico de Feo, assistant stage directors; Beatrix Lorber, assistant set design; Diego Leetz, assistant lighting; Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu; Bertrand de Billy, musical director

Richard Wagner (1813-1883): Götterdämmerung (1848-74) (Day 3 of 'Der Ring des Nibelungen'), opera in three acts with prologue, libretto by the composer. 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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