The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: New York Times art critic Roberta Smith praises the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle by Robert Lepage.

May 22, 2012
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

For many months now – almost two years — The Machine has been the object of scorn by opera buffs.

Many of the nation’s most acclaimed music critics, including Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times and Alex Ross of The New Yorker magazine, have heaped scorn on various aspects of the mammoth, complicated and expensive mechanical set or device (below, in “Das Rheingold”) that director Robert Lepage invented for his production at the Metropolitan Opera of Richard Wagner’s equally mammoth “Ring” cycle.

Some people, including New York Times music critic Zachary Woolfe, have praised aspects of it. And even Tommasini has had some second thoughts.

But the best overall minority report I have seen, the best dissent, if you will, came recently in the form of a perceptive and articulate column and appreciation by New York Times critic Robert Smith (below).

She makes many points, including how the visual aspect of The Machine clarified and reinforced the important plot points and individual characters in the epic four-opera series.

Read it and see what you think:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/arts/music/video-as-art-in-lepages-ring-at-the-metropolitan-opera.html?_r=1&ref=richardwagner

What did you think of The Machine?

Did it add to or detract from your appreciation of the Met’s “Ring” cycle and of Wagner?

The Ear wants to hear.


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