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“Das Rheingold” in Mariinsky theatre.





            I have listened in Mariinsky theatre "Das Rheingold" - Richard Wagner's opera (the part of tetralogies Der Ring des Nibelungen: Die Walküre", "Siegfried", "Götterdämmerung" (Twilight of the Gods).

         Wagner’s cycle is created on the basis of the German-Scandinavian mythology and the epos. The libretto was written by the great composer, rather originally having constructed action, but having kept spirit of North legends.

         Thus Wagner used the basic lines from the Scandinavian "Edda" sated with myths about gods, and names, and that, as to a heroic part has taken from the German tradition. Therefore the Supreme god Odin refers to here Wotan, the god of a thunder of Thor – Donner, hero Sigurd – Siegfried, etc.

And here this opera, in view of coming globalization, sounds unexpectedly actually.

We see here the female elements of Fate embodied by the goddess of the ground Erd and her daughters - the Norns. Above the earth great spirit Wotan establishes the man's domination. It does it by means of giants (spontaneous titanic forces) built illusive palace Valhalla.

Wotan and Donner, Fro, Fricka, Freia personify Superelite. Eternal - the world will not be destroyed yet.

         But their board keeping on force and oaths, fastening contracts, is undermined from each wrong act. And here, in underground foggy Nibelhejm the authority hostile to man's gods “a night army of Nibelungs (gnomes) and their master – Alberich, renounced from love for the sake of the gold which has held down a ring of power (Tolkien has written the Gorlum under impression Wagner’s operas) arises.

Alberich is the international financial capital there, powerful already during Wagner’s time and so actively trying last years to impose to the world the model of globalization.

There is also one more player – the Broad gully, the god of fire. It is artful and changeable. Once the Broad gully other Nibelungs, but has come over to of the party of gods. It deceives all – Nibelungs (taking away at them authority), gods (involving them in the lie), giants (having transferred them damned Alberich a ring). In the Broad gully look through features of the bohemian intellectual and the latent revolutionary serving the financial capital and Elite, but despising and deceiving those and others (and, in turn, them despised).

All world of "Das Rheingold" is based on a lie and doomed for destruction. And only future hero Siegfried) is capable to expiate evil by a life. But it is a plot of the subsequent operas “Der Ring des Nibelungen”.

 Now it is a little about statement. Any unexpectedness for me was not – the opera goes in Mariinsky theatre some years, and I listened one year ago here to " Destruction of gods ». Musical execution corresponds to the highest modern standards (as maestro Gergiev conducted), singing also (especially would note party Alberich). And as for scenery …

A certain Joseph Jusupov worked at scenery. As far as I can judge, he possessed also registration of statement to "Götterdämmerung" (Twilight of the Gods), seen by me earlier.

In the first picture, (coast of ancient Rhein) the role of rocks is executed with any vertically put humanoid cobble-stones among which action proceeds.

In the second picture (the opera has gone without intervals) on a stage four legs (like tower cranes), divided on segments inside of which the same cobble-stones are placed fall. Plus – some the huge horizontal figures suspended to a ceiling. All this symbolizes constructed by giants Valhall Wotan.

Giants are showed as two huge black block from which heads and shoulders of singers are put out. Inside of them the workers moving block on a stage (what process looks comically enough) disappear.

Probably, the idea was to show ancient giants as the certain blocks which have arisen at the beginning of the world (similarly to the Greek Cyclopes in whom saw artistic realization of volcanoes).

But as a whole, despite of good work of the artist on light (Gleb Filshtinsky), scenery make depressing impression. What to do, it is necessary to reckon with aesthetic taste modern Alberichs.

The costume designer is Tatyana working in Mariinsky with operas of Wagner traditionally. She not the costumier by a trade also has got in Mariinsky casually enough (someone from art dealers would say for her a word at suitable minute – usual Soviet and Russian practice). However Noginova’s work looks much more successfully scenery. Such clothes could rush and five thousand years up to us, and five millennium later.

Wotan, Donner, Fro (the god of light) and Loge like elves. Daughters of Rhein remind, more likely pagan priestesses (in their suits obviously influence of set dressers of the Siver age). Beauty Freia (Fricka’s sister, goddesses of a youth, a subject of man's desire) a long golden dress with "tail" (according to a fashion of the end of the nineteenth century).

Are ominous black small Nibelungs (children's chorus of Mariinsky theatre) with naked big skulls. Alberich likes them but he big and flavovirent (conducts a water way of life).

Alberich’s transformations (in a dragon and a toad) are solved not so successfully, from the point of view of modern opportunities. The dragon is represented by the actress mimans, with holding umbrellas and running on a stage a chain.

Goddess Erd acts with the closed person and the longest horns who support her daughters (also the actress mimans).

In ending and the wife it Frika set up to itself on heads enormous white crown, as the Egyptian gods (at Wotan – Anubis - a jackal, at Frika – Bast – a cat). These are eclectic.


Alex Fantalov.


Ursula K. Le Guin and Karlos Castaneda.

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