Opera: A Freudian Ring

The Valkyries wear shimmering, skin-tight leather. Gigantic musclemen hammer each other like wrestlers.

Bare-breasted Rhinemaidens (an effect achieved by body stockings tipped in rubber at the critical points) fondle an oversexed dwarf.

Wieland Wagner, grandson of the great man, mounted his first Wagnerian revolution when he took over the Bayreuth Festival 14 years ago, sweeping away the antiquated Teutonic gods, winged helmets and papier-mache shields from the ponderous, four-opera Ring cycle in favor of a treatment as stark and simple as Greek tragedy. Last week Bayreuth audiences were witnessing Wieland's second thoughts and...

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