Royal Opera RING (Telegraph)

Der Ring des Nibelungen: Wandering through Wagner

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 11/10/2007

Rupert Christiansen reviews Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden

The
Royal Opera has just presented the first complete cycle of Keith
Warner’s production of Wagner’s Ring, and the unmitigatedly good news
is Antonio Pappano’s conducting. Over the staging’s three-year
gestation, his interpretations of the individual episodes sometimes
seemed frenetic and breathless, as though he was racing to meet another
appointment, but now he has settled and focused.

  Der Ring des Nibelungen
Lisa Gasteen presents a spunky Brünnhilde

I
don’t think as yet he would rank in the very highest class of
Wagnerians – one doesn’t sense the architectural majesty that Goodall
forged, or the warmth and fluency that made Haitink’s reading so
enchanting – but he commands the overall measure of the score and is
alert to the twists and turns of the drama.

He
drew sumptuous playing from the orchestra, particularly in Act 1 of
Götterdämmerung, and supported the singers sensitively. Over the years,
his reading will surely continue to deepen and refine itself.

Underpinned
by this strong pulse from the pit, the cast was more than the sum of
its parts: its members had been well-rehearsed, and there was no
phoned-in routine. Yet, from a purely vocal perspective, the
performance provided a pretty depressing confirmation of the current
dearth of Wagnerians.

RTRH

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