Bayreuth new Ring will be Netflix styled

Bayreuth new Ring will be Netflix styled


norman lebrecht

February 14, 2022

Its Austrian director Valentin Schwarz has been talking to the DPA:

‘The fact that the “Ring” in Bayreuth is performed in its entirety within just one week gives us the opportunity to show a family epic in a four-part series format and to follow these characters in their circumstances and omissions through the course of time. Where are you from? Where are you going?…

‘”I want to tell a story about today’s people, today’s figures, today’s problems – and not about gods, dwarves, giants and dragons.’




  • RW2013 says:

    I have “today’s people and problems” at home and work, and go to the theatre to be distracted by gods, dwarves…

    • Richard says:


      • John Borstlap says:

        The gods, dwarfs, dragons, flying armed women, and people in the Ring stand all for human drives, and not merely for gods, dwarfs, etc.

        This director’s approach looks miserably materialist, obviously he has read nothing at all about this work. It looks terribly unprepared.

    • Sixtus says:

      Indeed, this is one of the appeals of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).

  • Michael McGrath says:

    Wow! What a remarkably novel approach! Has he read up on what’s already been done, on Wagner’s own visions and expectations for the ‘series?‘. The world has been there, done it.

    Tedium, vacuousness and arrogance at Bayreuth – as usual producing, at best, luke-warm sensationalism.

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    Sounds interesting. They could go a step further and mount a Ring in a day, for those of us who like to binge-watch a boxed set. Maybe allow us to wear our pyjamas and bring a duvet to snuggle up under.

    Then they could claim it’s ‘for today’s audience.’: Where are you from? ‘Just down the road ‘ Where are you going? ‘Nowhere. I’m staying right here with my bag of popcorn and the remote control.’ 😉

  • HugoPreuß says:

    If he wants an opera “not about gods, dwarves, giants and dragons” perhaps he should pick something that is *not* the Ring cycle to direct.

  • M McAlpine says:

    Sounds perfectly missable.

  • Ring Ring?!?! says:

    Uhhhh, yes it actually is? ‍♀️

  • Titurel says:

    And, drumroll: In a nutshell, this is the precise problem with “Regie Theater”. If the director doesn’t understand that Wagner’s mythic characters are indeed ‘people’ who are dealing with archetypal people issues, s/he has no business directing his operas.

    The most novel thing Bayreuth could produce today would be productions exactly faithful to Wagner’s stage directions, for a change. Just saying…

    • Bill says:

      Yeah, that probably would be novel. How many decades do you have to go back to find a production at Bayreuth where Wagner would have said “yep, that’s what I wanted!”? Go for the music, or don’t go.

    • J Barcelo says:

      The RIng in Seattle was very faithful to Wagner and was quite popular and appreciated for being so. I hope they bring it back some day.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Wagner’s own instructions for the staging of the Ring are difficult and some of them impossible to realise in a convincing way, even with all the technological means available today. He was himself very disappointed by the stagings he oversaw himself. That was the reason that he wanted to drop opera after Parsifal and concentrate on purely orchestral writing. The reason of his impracticalities are twofold: an overheated imagination inspired by the Swiss landscape where he was residing at the time, and the long period of no longer being involved in opera performance due to his exile. Unhindered by practicalities, he followed his inspiration. The first performance of the Ring in 1876 was a musical sensation but visually Wagner did not like it very much; Tchakovski’s review shows what did not work with the staging. The best approach appears to be to stage it dreamlike and symbolically, as shown by Wieland Wagner.

  • Alviano says:

    Nothing new under the sun.
    He wouldn’t have said it the same way, but the thoughts would not be strange to Monteverdi.
    We love those gods and dwarfs because we are they.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    It’s the death of metaphor.

  • Eric B says:

    ‘”I want to tell a story about today’s people, today’s figures, today’s problems – and not about gods, dwarves, giants and dragons.’”

    Wow, so ORIGINAL !!!!

  • Philip Nash says:

    Has he seen how many shows on Netflix are about gods, dwarves, giants and dragons? if I want to watch that kind of show I watch Wagner’s Ring cycle. The problem with those kind of Netflix shows is that all of the characters end up being 2 dimensional dwarves because apparently they are too cheap to use decent script writers. That being said it might be interesting to see an updated version, after all Patrice Chéreau’s version was rather good.

  • Y says:

    “I want to tell a story about today’s people, today’s figures, today’s problems – and not about gods, dwarves, giants and dragons.”

    Then why the hell are you staging the Ring?

  • C Ponto says:

    I’m sure the Parterre crowd will eat this up, and swallow the bait whole. I can feel their dismissive outrage thundering apace towards me like the very Valkyries themselves. But this speaks to a larger issue in opera in general. I concede happily that the Ring itself, as with most mythological topics, is already allegorical and metaphorical. As such, it’s open to several different avenues of approach and I think it may be durable enough to withstand the European regie maulings that are now viewed as necessary to opera stagings everywhere. My objection is that the narcissism of this generation–not only of directors but the audiences for whom they are working–seems to demand that everything be about them and their “problems and concerns.” There is almost a messianic mission to assure that whatever is eating away at them dominates the entire agenda, and not only in the performing arts. I don’t find the one-note cri de couer “semper tantrum” particularly elucidating and were I in a position of more influence (other than simply no longer buying tickets and supporting these agenda) I would suggest that these directors should be working on new works of theater and opera. If they don’t like what’s in the libretto, and don’t find that the timeless music and intent of the authors speaks relevantly to ticket-buyers, or is worth presenting to resemble something close to that which the creators might have recognized in passing, then just write something else. (And learn just how easy it is to create something that will be staged 100-300 years from now.) This doesn’t necessarily pertain to the Ring and I acknowledge fully that the persons that will vote this down have a trenchant point: the staging of opera now hews far more to their sensitivities than to mine, and because they’re now the ones buying the tickets, they should have it their own way.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    His Konzept is hardly original in this day and age. It is how he translates it into a viable piece of Gesamtkunstwerk that will show whether he is a serious artist or just another p*ss artist. Herheim, having had a success with Parsifal has hardly fared well with much of his subsequent efforts. Kosky has a cycle at ROH which is risky given what he did in Hannover and Jones has a cycle at ENO with bargain basement imagery not to mention imagination. Maybe the MET will give give a few $$$ more or a plank or two to play with. So not really much in prospect as far as Wagner is concerned and one more duff cycle to add to the many already around or in prospect should by now be grist to the mill. Who knows Shwarz might actually do what far too many are currently failing to do. But I’m not holding my breath.

  • Mark P says:

    ”I want to tell a story about today’s people, today’s figures, today’s problems – and not about gods, dwarves, giants and dragons.’

    Weren’t Game of Thrones and the Tolkien/Lord of the Ring movies about, at least, dwarves, giants, and dragons? (Maybe substitute sorcerers for gods?). Seems like they were pretty popular.

  • Wimseu says:

    Chéreau did exactly that almost 50 years ago. Someone send him the DVDs! Or at least the Youtube links…

  • Kathleen E King says:

    The Ring is genius — this who-ever-the-hell-he-is, not so much. WHY does every upset nobody always think they can “improve” genius? Fire him, and hire someone who understands music, art, and most of all the meaning of the Ring!

  • Jonathan Sutherland says:

    It may be Valentine’s day, but there is clearly no love lost between Herr Schwarz and even remotely connected Wagnerianism.
    Methinks this foreshadowed but typically gratuitous, regisseur-focussed, absurdly self-indulgent escapade will make Frank Castorf’s last Ring travesty appear like a reverent homage to traditional Wieland Wagner dramaturgy.
    As for what Dirigentkind Pietari Inkinen will do in the pit, it seems more a case of the libretto blind leading the partitura pre-pubescent.
    Surely it is time the Bavarian government stepped in to take control of the legacy the heirs of the divisive but incomparable composer have so irresponsibly squandered?

  • KANANPOIKA says:

    Aw….Gee…….All I really want is something that looks like a real tree, with
    a sword in it….

  • Novagerio says:

    “When the sun of culture is low, even dwarves will cast long shadows” – Karl Kraus

    • John Borstlap says:

      That is a good one.

      One wonders why that particular sun is so low today in the first place, or is it? Looking at opera productions and the ‘thinking’ behind it, one fears the worst. But much of precorona music life was not that bad, as long as there was no stage director in sight – with concert performances. It is to be hoped that postcorona times will somehow weed-out Regietheater, since the need for real relevance of opera would make them superfluous.

  • Hans says:

    The Ring is an allegory inviting viewers and listeners to draw on their own experiences and imagination. That is why it is timeless and universal. I have no truck with stage (and Festival) directors who dictate narrow, personal perspectives – and to hell with the audience. Perhaps they would like to do away with the orchestral score as well and replace it with ‘today’s’ recorded sounds? How very contemporary that would be!

  • Stuart S says:

    Sounds exciting.