Are singers paid extra for stripping in winter?

Are singers paid extra for stripping in winter?


norman lebrecht

February 06, 2012

And if not, why not?

First pictures of Munich’s blue Ring elicit a number of questions, which I am sure director Kriegenburg will hasten to answer:

1 Why does he need singers to strip off in the middle of the harshest winter Europe has suffered in years?

2 Why is the eyepatch still an essential Wagner accessory? Yes, I know Wotan’s meant to be a one-eyed git, but in a concept production isn’t there a more original way of expressing that?

3 Is this a homage to Ken Russell’s Women in Love?


4 Couldn’t he find a nicer Marks & Spencer  nightie for Catherine Wyn-Rogers?

5 Wtf are these Rhinemaidens going to do next?


  • Kundry's Therapist says:

    Many productions have Wotan wearing an eyepatch, because he lost one eye. It’s in the libretto.

  • Jon says:

    Norman, perhaps you are unfamiliar with Wagner’s Ring, but Wotan only has a single eye, having sacrificed one in exchange for the wisdom and power he gained when he fashioned his spear from the World Ash Tree.

    This is commonly denoted in productions of the ring but covering his missing eye with a patch. Indeed, as Wotans have worn an eye patch since the earliest productions of the Ring, this is probably the most ‘traditional’ element of the Munich ring (at least as demonstrated in these photographs).

  • Anon says:

    Why does the outside temperature make any difference to whether or not one strips inside the opera house?

  • John S. Gray says:

    Re. Wotan’s eyepatch: The theatrical eyepatch allows actors/singer to have a fairly good amount of vision through the thin gauzy thing. Not knowing that little detail, I once dressed up as Wotan for All Hallow’s Eve with a series of parties to attend. The restriction to one eye with a non-see-through eyepatch was extremely debilitating.

    But for Wotan, the question is: was Fricka worth it?

  • Lauren says:

    I couldn’t find an image of August Kindermann as Wotan (in the first Munich performances of Rheingold and Walküre) but here’s Franz Betz, the Wotan in the first complete cycles (Bayreuth 1876):

    And the people at the rear of the stage in the first picture are of course not singers but actors…

    And in reply to Mr Gray, Wotan does not sacrifice his eye to gain Fricka. As Jon points out above Wotan sacrifices an eye for wisdom and power (as described by the First Norn in the Prologue to Götterdämmerung). Subsequently Wotan stakes his one remaining eye to gain Fricka (see Wagner’s 1852 prose draft of Rheingold)

  • Rob says:

    Personally, I’d prefer a few naked singers to a stuffed shark or some teletubbies (things I’ve witnessed in the past). No wonder some people think opera is an expensive joke. Since so few people really understand what’s really happening perhaps some ‘controversial’ things on the stage gives them something to talk about?