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In Götterdämmerung the excerpts concentrate on the two best known moments, Siegfried's Funeral March and the Immolation Scene [watch -- DVD chapter 12, 0:00-1:15]. Rather oddly, we get over seven minutes of the Funeral March and just 1 minute 20 seconds of the Immolation Scene. For many of the episodes so far, the video director (Horant H Holfeld) has mixed general stage views with close-ups, though sometimes his choice of close-up is frustrating. For Siegfried's funeral march, he eschews close-ups so it is difficult to work out what is going on exactly. The landscape is dark and bleak, with just atmospheric grey sketches of trees or structures. Dim, spotlit figures flee from the dead Siegfried. There is no march as such, no procession; a fissure opens up in the earth, Wotan appears and contemplates Siegfried's body and throws his broken spear into the fissure. A second figure appears, but I am unclear about who this is.

'Fliegt heim, ihr Raben!' from Götterdämmerung. DVD screenshot © 2005 Warner Classics
'Fliegt heim, ihr Raben!' from Götterdämmerung. DVD screenshot © 2005 Warner Classics

The Immolation Scene is too short to make much effect, though the stage setting is very much as in the previous scene. In all I was very struck, even with these short excerpts, how Kupfer sticks to the rules that Wagner lays down (shields, spears etc) though adding new visual slants, but he is also trying to tell the metaphysical story which underlies the Ring. The complete Ring is being issued on DVD over the next few years and it will be fascinating to see it complete. Die Walküre is already out.

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Copyright © 10 August 2005 Robert Hugill, London UK


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