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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Friday, July 29, 2011

"Ghost" Busting

New Director May Pull Valhalla Out of the Fire
Kaboom! Director Michael Bay and his ideas for Götterdämmerung
We're about two months away from the opening of the Metropolitan Opera season, and three months away from the premiere of Siegfried, the third part of the company's new Ring cycle designed and directed by Robert Lepage.

Or is it?

According to an item on parterre box, the Canadian director is considering bringing in a "ghost director" to work on Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the last two operas in the massive mythological cycle. No information was given on who this might be--whether it's an assistant director from the house or another big-name professional.

Mr. Lepage's Ring has met with mixed reviews for the first two installments. Das Rheingold was stagey and beset with blocking problems, including a conspicuous pair of non-threatening Giants.


Die Walküre went off smoothly, despite an Act I set that looked shipped in from IKEA and the bizarre decision to have a double play Brunnhilde as she slept on top of her mountain. Speculation: this arrangement could have been made to ensure extra rehearsals for Deborah Voigt's summer run of Annie Get Your Gun at the Glimmerglass Festival.

Since we here at Superconductor have no information beyond the parterre snippet, the time has come to engage in rabid speculation as to who this "ghost director" might be. Here's five candidates:

Herbert von Karajan: Sure, he's dead. But the former Austrian conductor would probably like finish his incomplete cycle at the opera house from the 1970s. Could the spirit of von Karajan descend from the heavens above Austria and lead an inspired Götterdämmerung? Barring that, could he direct?


Julie Taymor: The trials and tribulations of the U2-written musical Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark were one reason the Met's technological issues with the Ring didn't hold the headlines. Ms. Taymor might return to the scene of her triumphant Die Zauberflöte. Her dragon is better-looking anyway.

Otto Schenk: The people's choice! Herr Schenk directed the company's wildly successful staging of the Ring that held the boards at the Met for 20 years. I'm sure that there's a container somewhere in New Jersey that still has the old sets, and that they can be whipped back into shape for the complete cycles planned for next Spring. But that would make too much sense.

Stephen Wadsworth: He's directed the Ring in Seattle. Last year, he took just six weeks to stage the Met's new Boris Godunov after German director Peter Stein cancelled in mid-July. The most likely candidate on this list.

Michael Bay: The Hollywood filmmaker understands the manufacture of "entertainment" where huge, clanking machinery takes higher priority than the safety of performers, and heart-warming drama is replaced by soulless technology and ginned-up computer-generated special effects. The man who gave us Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon is the guy they should have hired in the first place.
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.