“Wagner is the guy who invented the video clip. Think about it. He was the first to put out the lighting during the show. He wanted people to look and be irresistibly drawn into the action.” (Christian Thielemann)
Richard Wagner’s 15-hour tetralogy “The Ring of the Nibelung” is in content and extent an exceptional phenomenon of human history in the field of music drama. Not that one should be intimidated by that. “Wagner is not difficult,” insists Christian Thielemann, pleading for an unprejudiced approach to the composer. As one of the most important Wagner conductors of the present day, he set store by his participation in the four-part documentary series “Richard Wagner – The World of the Ring”, which sets out to bring the story and background of the works to as wide an audience as possible.
Central to that story are the introductions to the narrative and music of the “Ring”. While journalist Elke Heidenreich provides brief accounts of the four operas, an artist noted for his inimitable charm and profound understanding of Wagner’s scores – the pianist Stefan Mickisch – offers deeper insights into the plot and structure of the works. Excerpts from recorded rehearsals with Christian Thielemann at the Vienna Staatsoper and from notable “Ring” productions of recent years by Patrice Chéreau (1980), Harry Kupfer (1992) and La Fura dels Baus (2009) make the four operas of the “Ring” accessible to the listener in all their many layers of meaning.
Finally, the highly regarded Wagner experts Udo Bermbach, Dieter Borchmeyer, Laurence Dreyfus, Friedrich Dieckmann and Stephan Mösch communicate their deep insights into the world of the “Ring”.
This fusion of opera guide and documentary offers newcomers to Wagner an entertaining introduction to his “Ring” while keeping some surprises up its sleeve for connoisseurs.