Music: Of Carrousel Horses and Claws

The Seattle Opera unveils a novel and invigorating Ring

Ever since Richard Wagner first staged his Der Ring des Nibelungen at Bayreuth in 1876, producers, directors and set designers have been trying to figure out how best to present his sweeping 16-hour cycle. Wagner set the first production in timeless, mythic German prehistory. In his revolutionary postwar interpretation, the composer's grandson Wieland emphasized the influence of Greek drama on Wagner's aesthetics. French Director Patrice Chereau detected a 19th century Marxist dialectic at work with his controversial 1976 Bayreuth staging, while Set Designer Pet Halmen and Director Nicolas Joel used aspects of Kabuki drama in their recent Wiesbaden production.

The ambiguities...

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