All That Glitters

Count in most facets of the Minnesota Opera’s production of “Das Rheingold.” As a first-time ever attempt to mount any of the four pdownload-2arts that make up Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, MO’s version is faithful to the composer’s original concept yet innovative in its presentation.

The archetypal story, based on Norse and Germanic pagan mythology, involves a magical gold ring guarded by Rhine maiden sprites whose possession enables its wearer to rule the world, but only if he or she renounces love. Its theft sets off a story of love, deception, greed and betrayal that eventually alters the order of the universe.

Telling such a monumental tale could be cumbersome and off-putting for a modern audience given its many stately characters and convoluted story-line, yet the acting, staging, and direction easily overcome these potential drawbacks. From the leads playing gods to the children portraying beset-upon dwarfs, all embodied their roles with gusto and bits of business that set them indelibly in the audience’s mind. The sets and animation underscored and abetted the actors’ performances whether invoking the mystical majesty of Valhalla, Alberich’s lecherous spying on the Rhine maidens, or the dwarves toiling in the mines far underground.

And the n there’s the music–always the music. Forever gorgeous, ever evocative, this time Wagner’s leitmotifs literally play a role onstage as the number of musicians required to perform his music-drama was much too large to fit within the Ordway Theater orchestra pit. Seated in the middle of the stage, Wagner’s music becomes the centerpiece around which swirls all the greed, deception, and power-grabbing that make up the plot.

Like Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Guardians of the Universe and other depictions of far-off, fantastical lands and times, this first installment in Wagner’s Ring Cycle matches those in terms of innovation, quality, adownloadnd power in its story-telling. When even millennials in audience are so captivated as to turn off their social media, you can only hope this production of the first installment in Wagner’s Ring Cycle encourages the Minnesota Opera to prospect for more gold in the second, third, and fourth.

Performances of “Das Rheingold” take place on November 12, 15, 17, 19-20. Check one out.

 

 

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