Sunday, 22 February 2009

Los Angeles Ring 2009-2010

The 2009-10 Los Angeles Opera Ring will be directed by Achim Freyer and conducted by James Conlon.

Rheingold and Walküre opens Spring 2009. Three complete cycles will be given in 2010.

A website has been set up for the LA Ring with plenty of information.

75-year German director Achim Freyer, a former pupil of Bertold Brecht has worked with opera for 30 years, staging many world premieres. Freyer´s most important stagings may be seen here. One of Freyer´s greatest successes to date is Mozart´s Magic Flute, which he has reinterpreted for several theaters, currently on the schedule in Dresden.
Achim Freyer´s most recent staging was Eugen Onegin in Berlin ealier this season. In 2007 he staged the world premiere of Alice in Wonderland in Munich.

Achim Freyer works with his 1992-founded Freyer ensemble and has developed a highly individual theatrical language emphasizing strictly formalized gestures and movements within a colourful geometric environment of almost childlike simplicity.

What to expect from Achim Freyer´s Nibelungen Ring?

I am relatively well acquainted with Achim Freyer´s work and the below Nibelungen Ring photos as well as the promotional video, a video from the Munich Alice in Wonderland and photographs from previous Achim Freyer productions including extensive Eugen Onegin photos (and review) will provide a reasonable idea. What one does not get from the photographs is the highly stylized movements of the singers, almost like string puppets, one of Freyer´s trademarks which I´d be very surprised if he didn´t continue for this Ring.

Below photos and video excerpts from Achim Freyer´s upcoming Los Angeles Opera Ring:

Rheingold:



Walküre:

Siegfried:

Götterdämmerung:

6 comments:

Tristan Minstrel said...

I still think Harry Kupfer's production from Barcelona is the best Ring I've seen in visual terms. Unfortunately, they have the woeful Treleaven, a less than adequate Struckmann, a Polaski past her prime, and a whole cast of other singers who don't really fit the bill.

Schneider-Siemssen's Ring is beautiful to look at, but the production is better to see live rather than on DVD when one can feast on the details of the lush stage sets.

I didn't like Kupfer's first Ring as much as his second with the Liceu, but it is better than most Ring's out there.

This Ring looks like Dark Knight's joker meets Saw IV. How grotesque and inappropriate to the beauties of Wagner's score.

Anonymous said...

I actually bet this kind of highly stylised visually stimulating pupetry would go over better in the United States than a stripped minimilist regie theater production of the ring.

curzon said...

Looks like more of Freyer's crap. How is one meant to identify with characters who are wearing carnival costumes?

Mad Hatter said...

These costumes and the colors bring a televised dreamland to mind. Would this be considered a 'play'?

Anonymous said...

In response to Freyer's Ring in Los Angeles, let me begin by stating that I'm a lover of Wagner and of avant-garde theatre. I've seen and enjoyed some of Freyer's work in the past, so I was eager to attend the LA Ring.

Unfortunately, after the first two operas, I am utterly disappointed. While there have been a few impressive moments, and the lighting is first rate, the costumes and concept leave much to be desired. The costumes look rather cheap, ranging from carnival style to bad science fiction. Moreover, some of them are so big and bulky, they eliminate any physical movement or facial expression from the performers, resulting in some incredibly static and dull scenes.

Moreover, the concept behind the first act of Walkure I found plain silly. The set featured a giant circle on the stage floor. At the center was a light saber (in the spirit of Star Wars), which slowly moved clockwise, creating the feel of a seconds hand on a watch or clock. Siegmund and Seiglinde stood at opposite sides of the stage like statues, rarely moving or acknowledging one another, just staring forward and singing their lines. Again, both were saddled with amateurish costumes that were big and bulky, prohibiting them from movement, and masking any facial or personal expression. It was just two statues and a clock for most of the act. At the very end (the final minute or two), the performers slowly moved toward one another, reaching each other just as the last note sounded. Perhaps this was supposed to be a powerful moment, a symbolic portrayal of how the siblings were "separated" as children, but now had been "reunited". For me, it was an hour plus of looking at two statues and a clock's seconds hand, robbed of any sensuality or passion.

Furthermore, I've been disappointed by the orchestra and singers. Conductor Conlon has chosen to cover the orchestra, muffling the sound and destroying the range of the lower strings and horns. For me, his choice didn't work in this auditorium. Also, Placido's performance as Siegmund, while highly professional, clearly shows the singer no longer has much power.

I've seen many productions of the Ring around the world. I'll see the following two operas next year, but so far I'm terribly disappointed!

opera toronto said...

The reveiw of the Weimar Ring is missing. Anyone willing to share impressions?

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