Wagner: Das Rheingold

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Wagner
LABELS: Opus Arte
ALBUM TITLE: Wagner
WORKS: Das Rheingold
PERFORMER: Falk Struckmann, Graham Clark, Gunter von Kannen, Lioba Braun, Kwanchul Youn, Gran Teatre del Liceu SO, Bertrand de Billy
CATALOGUE NO: OA 0910
In May 2003 Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu began its first production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen for 50 years. What they staged was Harry Kupfer’s 1990s production for the Staatsoper in Berlin. This DVD features some singers from the Berlin production – Günter von Kannen (Alberich) and the brilliant Graham Clark (Loge) among them – while others are new: notably Falk Struckmann, a pony-tailed Wotan in dark glasses, projecting a dark view of the morally flawed god. As the giant Fasolt, Kwanchul Youn is touchingly passionate about Freia, and Matthias Hölle’s solid Fafner is well contrasted. The Barcelona orchestra is lacking in refinement, and Bertrand de Billy fails to bring to bear anything like Barenboim’s power and authority.

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The DVD’s extras – an illustrated synopsis and a ‘cast gallery’ – scarcely exploit the medium’s potential. The subtitles are a disgrace, alternating between the unidiomatic (‘Scandalous folk’, exclaims Alberich to the Nibelungs) and the meaningless (‘You have deft touch of your ring,’ says Loge to Alberich). The Stuttgart Rheingold (TDK, reviewed February 2004) is a much better bet. Otherwise wait for the DVD of Keith Warner’s enthralling new production at Covent Garden. Barry Millington