The director enraged the Wagnerians
Angry boos for Bayreuth’s ‘Siegfried’
The new “Ring des Nibelungen” in Bayreuth does not have an easy time with the public. After the failure of “Rheingold” by the Wagnerians, the production of “Siegfried” also found no mercy. Valentin Schwarz’s staging concept, bubbling with ideas, slowly but surely begins to materialize.
Valentin Schwarz had warned everyone: The director called his “Rhinegold” a “pilot film”, the first part of Bayreuth’s new “Ring des Nibelungen”, “which raises a lot of questions, teases a lot of things and gets you excited for what’s to come.” – also if you can’t categorize everything right away”. In the third part of “Ring”, “Siegfried”, he shows what he means by this.
After a bumpy start with “Rheingold” and “Walküre,” his colorful concept is slowly but surely starting to take off. The questions posed in the first two parts gradually find answers and the light falls on the complicated network of relationships that the young Austrian stages in his family saga. But the Bayreuth audience did not appreciate it at the premiere of “Siegfried” on Wednesday evening. Angry boos break out as the curtain falls at the end of the third act – and they don’t apply to the musical portion of the production.
In addition to the loud and loud “Siegfried” singer Andreas Schager, who is frantically celebrated, there is also much cheering for Daniela Köhler and her warm, multifaceted, if not equally powerful Brünnhilde and conductor Cornelius Meister. Wotan “Wanderer” Tomasz Konieczny, so injured in “Valkyrie” that he had to be replaced in the third act, is also well received by the public. Even Arnold Bezuyen, who is remarkably weak as a mime, is enthusiastically applauded.
Dragon as Head of Household
Against this benevolent backdrop, the ruthlessness shown by many spectators with imaginative direction is even more difficult to comprehend. Because Black came up with ideas. For example, the dragon Fafner (Wilhelm Schwinghammer), whom Siegfried must slay in the second act, is not a mythical fire-breathing creature in Schwarz’s work, but the elderly, bedridden leader of a mafia family who gropes his nurse. And that doesn’t die by the hand of Siegfried – but rather profanely from a heart attack.
The young man, who sits silently on the old man’s sickbed, ultimately turns out to be the child Fafner kidnapped in “Rheingold” in exchange for Freya, daughter of the gods: the last murderer of Siegfried Hagen, which in Schwarz’s work before “Götterdämmerung” appears on the “Sonnerie” stage. The somewhat uneven friendship and complicity that develop between later opponents should still play a decisive role in the final game.
The question of who the second child of the “Rheingold” is, a girl who flees Valhalla by the hand of Erda (Okka von der Damerau), is at least partially answered – albeit less artistically. The child, now an adult, appears – completely neglected – again with Erda. Important finding: Brünnhilde is not.
Because she wakes up from her restful sleep as if she’s been peeled from the egg and is freed by Siegfried from the bandages of her cosmetic surgery. The back and forth in which the couple threatens to lose each other before the two surrender is compounded by the fact that there is a man who has been waiting for Brünnhilde for all these years. But her first love lets her go – only to disappear into the night with Siegfried in the car. After “Siegfried”, only the “Götterdämmerung” is missing to complete the new “Ring”. The premiere is scheduled for Friday. Next, the Schwarz directing team will appear on stage for the first time. The production revival of “Lohengrin” with set design by Neo Rauch is scheduled for Thursday, which will be presented on the Green Hill for the last time this year.
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