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Jahrhundertring

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Jahrhundertring

Jahrhundertring
A scene from Götterdämmerung, part four of the Ring Cycle, in the centenary production at the Bayreuth Festival, conducted by Pierre Boulez and staged by Patrice Chéreau, with Gwyneth Jones as Brünnhilde
Time
  • 1976 (1976)
  • 1977
  • 1978
  • 1979
  • 1980

The Jahrhundertring (Centenary Ring) was the production of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen, at the Bayreuth Festival in 1976, celebrating the centenary of both the festival and the first performance of the complete cycle. The festival was directed by Wolfgang Wagner and the production was created by the French team of conductor Pierre Boulez, stage director Patrice Chéreau, stage designer Richard Peduzzi, costume designer Jacques Schmidt and lighting designer André Diot. The cycle was shown first in 1976, then in the following years until 1980. It was filmed for television in 1979 and 1980. While the first performance caused "a near-riot" for its brash modernity, the staging, termed the beginning of Regietheater (director's theater), established a standard for later productions.

Centenary

Festival director Wolfgang Wagner selected the composer Pierre Boulez as the conductor for the centenary celebration of Wagner's most complex work which had been first performed at the first Bayreuth festival. The conductor's first choice for a stage director was Ingmar Bergman. When he refused,[1] Boulez recommended as stage director Patrice Chéreau.[2] Chéreau brought in the team of stage designer Richard Peduzzi, costume designer Jacques Schmidt and lighting designer André Diot,[3][4] with whom he had collaborated already in his first theatre, the Public-Theatre in the Parisian suburb of Sartrouville, from 1966.[5]

The French team revolutionised the understanding of Wagner in Germany, as music critic Eleonore Büning wrote in the Shaw's messianic socialism and Strindberg's psychodrama.[1]

Singers

The singers for the production had to act as much as to sing, especially for the filming in 1980.

The following table shows singers of the first year 1976 and of the last year, when it was filmed. The parts of Wagner's work are abbreviated R for Das Rheingold, W for Die Walküre, S for Siegfried, G for Götterdämmerung.

Singers in Jahrhundertring
Role In part Singer 1976 Singer 1977 Singer 1978 Singer 1979 Singer 1980 All
Wotan 1 R W S McIntyre Donald McIntyre[3] McIntyre Donald McIntyre[7] McIntyre Donald McIntyre[8] McIntyre Donald McIntyre[9] McIntyre Donald McIntyre[10] *
Donner 2 R Arvidson Jerker Arvidson Egel Martin Egel Egel Martin Egel Egel Martin Egel Egel Martin Egel
Froh 3 R Steinbach Heribert Steinbach Jerusalem Siegfried Jerusalem Jerusalem Siegfried Jerusalem Jerusalem Siegfried Jerusalem Jerusalem Siegfried Jerusalem
Loge 4 R Zednik Heinz Zednik Zednik Heinz Zednik Zednik Heinz Zednik Zednik Heinz Zednik Zednik Heinz Zednik *
Fricka 5 R W Minton Yvonne Minton Randova Eva Randová Schwarz Hanna Schwarz Schwarz Hanna Schwarz Schwarz Hanna Schwarz
Freia 6 R Yakar Rachel Yakar Reppel Carmen Reppel Reppel Carmen Reppel Reppel Carmen Reppel Reppel Carmen Reppel
Erda 7 R S Wenkel Ortrun Wenkel Schwarz Hanna Schwarz Wenkel Ortrun Wenkel Wenkel Ortrun Wenkel Wenkel Ortrun Wenkel
Alberich 8 R S G Kelemen Zoltán Kélemen Kelemen Zoltán Kélemen Kelemen Zoltán Kélemen Becht Hermann Becht Becht Hermann Becht
Mime 9 R Appel Wolf Appel Appel Wolf Appel Pampuch Helmut Pampuch Pampuch Helmut Pampuch Pampuch Helmut Pampuch
Fasolt 10 R Salminen Matti Salminen Toivanen Heikki Toivanen Toivanen Heikki Toivanen Salminen Matti Salminen Salminen Matti Salminen
Fafner 11 R S Rundgren Bengt Rundgren Salminen Matti Salminen Salminen Matti Salminen Hübner Fritz Hübner Hübner Fritz Hübner
Woglinde 12 R G Kawahara Yoko Kawahara Sharp Norma Sharp Sharp Norma Sharp Sharp Norma Sharp Sharp Norma Sharp
Wellgunde 13 R G Gramatzki Ilse Gramatzki Gramatzki Ilse Gramatzki Gramatzki Ilse Gramatzki Gramatzki Ilse Gramatzki Gramatzki Ilse Gramatzki *
Floßhilde 14 R G Krauss Adelheid Krauss Cornelia Wulkopf Cornelia Wulkopf Schiml Marga Schiml Schiml Marga Schiml Schiml Marga Schiml
Siegmund 15 W Hofmann Peter Hofmann[11] Schunk Robert Schunk[12] Hofmann Peter Hofmann[13] Hofmann Peter Hofmann[14] Hofmann Peter Hofmann[15] *
Hunding 16 W Salminen Matti Salminen Salminen Matti Salminen Holle Matthias Hölle Salminen Matti Salminen Salminen Matti Salminen
Sieglinde 17 W Bode Hannelore Bode Bode Hannelore Bode Bode Hannelore Bode Altmeyer Jeannine Altmeyer Altmeyer Jeannine Altmeyer
Brünnhilde 18 W S G Jones Gwyneth Jones Jones Gwyneth Jones Polaski Deborah Polaski Jones Gwyneth Jones Jones Gwyneth Jones
Gerhilde 19 W Yakar Rachel Yakar Reppel Carmen Reppel Johansson Eva Johansson Reppel Carmen Reppel Reppel Carmen Reppel
Ortlinde 20 W Auroora Irja Auroora Schirmer Astrid Schirmer Frey Lia Frey-Rabine Middleton Karen Middleton Middleton Karen Middleton
Waltraute 21 W Soffel Doris Soffel Schnaut Gabriele Schnaut Herman Silvia Herman Schnaut Gabriele Schnaut Schnaut Gabriele Schnaut
Schwertleite 22 W Krauss Adelheid Krauss Payne Patricia Payne Katagiri Hitomi Katagiri Killebrew Gwendolyn Killebrew Killebrew Gwendolyn Killebrew
Helmwige 23 W Clarke Katie Clarke Clarke Katie Clarke Bundschuh Eva-Maria Bundschuh Clarke Katie Clarke Clarke Katie Clarke
Siegrune 24 W Nafe Alicia Nafé Cornelia Wulkopf Cornelia Wulkopf Finnie Linda Finnie Schiml Marga Schiml Schiml Marga Schiml
Grimgerde 25 W Gramatzki Ilse Gramatzki Gramatzki Ilse Gramatzki Priew Uta Priew Gramatzki Ilse Gramatzki Gramatzki Ilse Gramatzki
Rossweisse 26 W Glauser Elisabeth Glauser Glauser Elisabeth Glauser Dijkstra Hebe Dijkstra Glauser Elisabeth Glauser Glauser Elisabeth Glauser
Siegfried 27 S Kollo René Kollo[16] Kollo René Kollo[17] Kollo René Kollo[18] Jung Manfred Jung[19] Jung Manfred Jung[20]
Mime 28 S Zednik Heinz Zednik Zednik Heinz Zednik Zednik Heinz Zednik Zednik Heinz Zednik Zednik Heinz Zednik *
Waldvogel 29 S Kawahara Yoko Kawahara Sharp Norma Sharp Sharp Norma Sharp Sharp Norma Sharp Sharp Norma Sharp
Siegfried 30 G Thomas Jess Thomas[21] Jung Manfred Jung[22] Jung Manfred Jung[23] Jung Manfred Jung[24] Jung Manfred Jung[25]
Gunther 31 G Arvidson Jerker Arvidson Mazura Franz Mazura Mazura Franz Mazura Mazura Franz Mazura Mazura Franz Mazura
Hagen 32 G Ridderbusch Karl Ridderbusch Ridderbusch Karl Ridderbusch Ridderbusch Karl Ridderbusch Hübner Fritz Hübner Hübner Fritz Hübner
Gutrune 33 G Auroora Irja Auroora Bode Hannelore Bode Bode Hannelore Bode Altmeyer Jeannine Altmeyer Altmeyer Jeannine Altmeyer
Waltraute 34 G Minton Yvonne Minton Minton Yvonne Minton Minton Yvonne Minton Killebrew Gwendolyn Killebrew Killebrew Gwendolyn Killebrew
Norn 1 First Norn 35 G Wenkel Ortrun Wenkel Payne Patricia Payne Payne Patricia Payne Wenkel Ortrun Wenkel Wenkel Ortrun Wenkel
Norn 2 Second Norn 36 G Trabert Dagmar Trabert Schnaut Gabriele Schnaut Schnaut Gabriele Schnaut Schnaut Gabriele Schnaut Schnaut Gabriele Schnaut
Norn 3 Third Norn 37 G Bode Hannelore Bode Clarke Katie Clarke Clarke Katie Clarke Clarke Katie Clarke Clarke Katie Clarke

Alternate singers were in 1976 Hans Sotin as Wotan and Karl Ridderbusch as Hunding, Roberta Knie as Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung and Bengt Rundgren as Hagen. In 1977, Patrice Chéreau acted the part of Siegfried in one performance of Siegfried, because singer René Kollo had broken his leg. In 1978, Astrid Schirmer performed Sieglinde in Walküre, Jean Cox sang the part of Siegfried in one performance of Siegfried.

Reception

The Ring production was initially met with controversial reactions,[26] provoking "a near-riot", due to its controversial setting of the saga in the Industrial revolution, with the Rhinemaidens as prostitutes.[6] Later it was understood as "a thoughtful allegory of man's exploitation of natural resources".[6] Winifred Wagner, the then elderly matriarch of the Wagner dynasty, disliked the production but asked rhetorically "isn't it better to be furious than to be bored?".[27] After its final performance in 1980 the production was celebrated in a 45-minute standing ovation.[28][29] It set a standard for productions of the Ring Cycle to follow.[2] Called the beginning of Regietheater (director's theater), the production influenced directors and designers.[6]

The production was filmed for television in 1979 and 1980.[30] Die Walküre was shown in the ARD on 28 August 1980.[31] The cycle was shown completely in 1983, in commemoration of the composer's death, and also presented in the cinema internationally.[32]

While a DVD review of the BBC criticized Boulez's "ruthless tempi" and "pervasive lack of expressiveness",[33] James Leonard noted: "... more controversial than Chéreau's dramatic conception was Boulez's musical execution. With startlingly clear textures, spectacularly bright colors, and stunningly light tempos, Boulez obtains a Wagner sound like no other. And for those with ears to hear, it works. Wagner's music doesn't have to be murky to be metaphysical or massive to be overwhelmingly moving and Boulez gets playing from the too-often turgid Bayreuth Festival Orchestra that makes the music crackle and blaze with musical and dramatic meaning."[34] Edward Rothstein wrote for the New York Times: "Aspects of the score emerge with unexpected clarity. In the opening of 'Die Walküre', he deliberately understates the bass line, giving the music's aggressive restlessness an eerie disembodied character. Throughout 'The Ring', filigree and details are crisply articulated without undue stress on the leitmotifs; nothing is made sentimental or obvious. Particularly drawn to the intricately shifting sound world of the late, last opera, Mr. Boulez gives it a dramatic sweep along with a crystalline gleam."[1]

References

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Literature

External links

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