Roger Hecht writes:
>Part of their appeal is their time and setting, and I've never seen the
>point of "updating." Wagner is based on Norse and German myth and it's
>always seemed wise to me keep it there--that's part of its appeal.
Roger, but isn't this "updating" precisely what Wagner himself was doing
to Norse and German myth?
His stories are in every sense romantic and nationalistic interpretations
of those myths and scarcely follow the original texts at all. So does
"keeping it there" mean sticking with this quintessentially 19th century
view of the German Dark Ages? Most of his political point-making is
outmoded or worse nowadays. I don't think you're suggesting that The
Ring's characters ought to be kitted out in authentic thongs and fur
loin-cloths (or nothing at all!) And what, historically speaking, might
Wotan King of the Gods and his Good Lady Wife have been wearing for that
pleasant little levee with his daughter?
Light irony aside, doesn't the fact that whilst you might imagine
the piece to look like the Arthur Rackham illustrations which charmed
you as a child [whilst I might want it to look like the 19th c.
capitalist-workers Chereau production job which shocked me as an
impressionable adolescent] tell us more about the dangers of "visual
imprinting" than about the objective "appeal" of this or any other piece?
Some of the value of myth lies in our childhood nostalgia, sure; but
more surely comes from its infinite capacity for re-interpretation.
That's why new generations continue to be drawn into it.
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK
"ZARZUELA!" The Spanish Music Site
The CLASSICAL mailing list is powered by L-Soft's renowned LISTSERV(R)
list management software together with L-Soft's HDMail High Deliverability
Mailer for reliable, lightning fast mail delivery. For more information,
go to: http://www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html