Götz Friedrich’s long-running production of the Ring at the Deutsche Oper Berlin is a mixed bag. The stage concept, a massive “Time Tunnel” that connects the various worlds of the opera with our own, is visually striking, yet underutilized. One of the best touches is Nibelheim as an underground factory reminiscent of Lang’s Metropolis. Friedrich’s production certainly looks dated (very 1980s) has enjoyed over 40 performances and the wear-and-tear showed in some creaky sets and malfunctioning props. At the end of Götterdämmerung, after some confusing pyrotechnics, ostensible survivors of the wreckage huddle together and lift their eyes to an apocalyptic landscape inhabited by statuesque figures draped in white shrouds. The indeterminate yet arresting visuals provide an effective complement to the cosmic musical bursts with which the opera concludes. It not only seems a farewell to the gods but also a sign that this much-weathered production is perhaps ready to be retired.
Be that as it may, the DOB is presenting two cycles this season, under the batons of Donald Runnicles and Sir Simon Rattle, and the casts that they’ve assembled is most promising.
SEPTEMBER 2013: 21., 22., 27., 29.
JANUARY 2014: 8., 9., 10., 12