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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Ring Goes West

First images of the new Bayreuth Ring revealed.
The New York Stock Exchange features in Götterdämmerung, possibly
standing in for Valhalla. Photo by Enrico Nawath © 2013 Bayreuth Festival.
The Bayreuth Festival has let slip stage images from the new production of Wagner's Ring, directed by German conceptual artist Frank Castorf.

Mr. Castorf's vision of the Ring reimagines Wagner's cycle as a metaphor for capitalism (something that has been done before) with a distinctly American slant. (Ditto!) The twist is the replacement of the mythic gold with the modern world's most valuable substance: oil. As usual in Bayreuth, the complete cycle will premiere at one Festival.

Mr. Castorf's production features sets by Aleksandar Denić. It replaces the "modern mythology" cycle by director Tankred Dorst. (Just as Mr. Dorst was a "second choice" following the exit of filmmaker Lars von Trier, Mr. Castorf was chosen after negotiations fell through with director Wim Wenders.

This year's performances will feature Wolfgang Koch as Wotan (driving a black Mercedes). Johan Botha and Anja Kampe are Siegmund and Sieglinde in Die Walküre. Lance Ryan as Siegfried and Catherine Foster as Brunnhilde. Kiril Petrenko conducts his first cycle at Bayreuth from the Festspielhaus' famous "invisible" orchestra pit.

An American motel on Route 66 is the setting for Das Rheingold. Note the swimming pool.
Photo by Enrico Nawath © 2013 Bayreuth Festival.
The wilderness of Die Walküre is replaced by a large wildcatters' rig.
Photo by Enrico Nawath © 2013 Bayreuth Festival.
A "Mount Rushmore" of Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, Josef Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung
forms a backdrop for Siegfried. Photo by Enrico Nawath © 2013 Bayreuth Festival.
A set for Götterdämmerung recalls Berlin's Alexanderplatz.
Photo by Enrico Nawath © 2013 Bayreuth Festival.
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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.