The hero Siegfried says goodbye and humanity plunges into an irreversible decline. It is The Twilight of the Gods the darkest and most tragic work of the tetralogy created by Richard Wagner, The Ring of the Nibelung . It is, perhaps also, the most intense and disturbing, but, at the same time, the most hopeful, in which a rebirth is glimpsed. With The Twilight of the Gods, the Royal Theater of Madrid puts an end to the performances of Wagner's magnum opus which, for four successive seasons, has been seen on its stage, led by Robert Carsen, as stage director, and Pablo Heras-Casado, as musical director. “Undoubtedly, this 'ring' is the most important project of my life so far”, Pablo Heras-Casado assured this Wednesday during the presentation of the premiere that ends this musical odyssey, with the aggravation of the turbulence caused by the covid pandemic.
The reality is that, these days, in Real there is happiness for the culmination of this great adventure of this mythical production that Robert Carsen premiered in 2000 in Cologne (Germany) and that has traveled on different stages around the world, including the Liceu de Barcelona in 2016. “Despite the unimaginable challenges that this immense Wagner opera already has, fate has given us some more challenges, such as the pandemic . It has been a fascinating journey, an honor to participate in the realization of this epic work, which resembles a great utopia”, added Heras-Casado, who has praised the orchestra and the same cast, which has accompanied this Assembly since its inception.
There will be nine functions that will be represented in the Real from the next day 26 and 27 February. Everything is big in what is considered the most extensive and brilliant unitary history in the universe of opera and a colossal score, written and composed by Wagner (Leipzig, 1813 – Venice, 1883) over 25 years. 11 soloists, 115 musicians, 62 choir members and 17 extra actors make up the artistic team for the production of The Twilight of the Gods
, curiously the first of the four operas that make up The Ring of the Nibelung (The Gold of the Rhine, The Valkyrie, Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods ). The orchestra, as happened last season with Sigfrido, will occupy the pit and eight boxes, on both sides of the stage, to maintain the health safety distance due to the pandemic. Due to the long duration of this work, five and a half hours, the performances will start at 6:30 p.m., except on Sundays when they will start at 5:00 p.m. 1,500 tickets aimed at young people have already been put on sale at a price of between 25 and 35 euros. The work counts, in its main roles, among others, with the voices of Andreas Schager (Sigfrido) or Ricarda Merbeth (Brunilda).
The ecological metaphor and the destruction of nature used by Wagner, in the form of a critique of the industrial revolution of the 19th century, has only grown since then and, even more so, since the production that Canadian stage director Robert Carsen premiered in Cologne. “Our starting point in the premiere of the year 2000 was that point of ecological catastrophe that is breathed in The Ring of the Nibelung
. It is true that it is a work that has a thousand possible readings and, finally, experience and personal reading is the only thing that works. Everyone has their own. Unfortunately, I have to admit that the denunciation of the environmental disaster in the world is increasingly pertinent, something that 20 years ago I did not see in this way at all”, explained Carsen, an artist determined to denounce the danger of destruction that threatens the nature and the planet. “The final message of The Twilight of the Gods speaks to us of rebirth and hope”, Carsen congratulates, for whom the pandemic may be the result of humanity's behavior on a planet that “is already at the edge of its possibilities, in this irresponsible race of human beings.” “What we are doing to this planet leads us inevitably to disaster, it will be the destruction of the human being. It's very sad”, lamented the stage director.
Such an epic montage, which premiered in Cologne on consecutive days, can only cause changes in its creators. “Now I would be unable to do it. The idea of representing it in consecutive seasons, which began in Venice, was definitive. With the passage of time one changes and more with the continuous revisits to the same work. We have been adapting to the different singers and, also, to the teachers who have been in charge of the orchestras, with their different readings and their approaches. Wagner, in this work, confronts us with the eternal question of who we are, why we are here and where we are going, searching inside ourselves”, adds Carsen, who will continue his collaboration with Heras-Casado con un Don Giovanni, which will premiere soon at the Teatro de la Scala in Milan.
The Spanish musician also recognizes changes after the culmination of this odyssey. “These are questions I ask myself. It has been a long cycle that is now being completed and, although it is complicated to make a cold and rational analysis of what changes you, what I can assure you, without a doubt, is that Wagner, a radical and revolutionary creator, has made me grow on a personal and professional level, outwards and inwards. I don't know what I've lived with longer, the music or the libretto. What is clear is that for me it has been essential to know the depth of reading this poem”, assures Heras-Casado, who confesses that he is experiencing a sensation of “serenity, satisfaction and intensity”. “Wagner invites us with this work to fluidity, transparency and dramatic rhythm, beyond the joy of grandiloquence. This has been the essence of approaching this music for me”, concludes the musician from Granada.
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