ENO’s Ring has taken a long time to reach its endpoint and has had some disappointing earlier instalments but the culmination of the cycle is by far the best of the four.
The orchestra plays as if Wagner’s music is at last in its blood and conductor Paul Daniel, while not exactly plumbing the depths, is secure.
Richard Hudson’s designs achieve some memorable stage pictures. Siegfried as a frontiersman ensconced in domestic bliss with his homemaking bride Brunnhilde gives way to a Rhine journey that sees him skateboarding through canyons on the way to New York.
The Gibichung Hall is a health spa that maintains a private army complete with missiles. How all this fits together is an unanswered question, but at least this time around you have definitely seen a show.
Neither Berkeley-Steele’s superhero nor Kathleen Broderick’s redemptive heroine is ideal but they battle their way bravely through their near-impossible vocal tasks.
As the dark-souled Hagen, Gidon Saks does much more. With resourceful singing and brilliant acting he offers the production’s star turn.
Solid and creditable performances from Claire Weston as blonde bombshell Gutrune, Iain Paterson as her easily manipulated brother Gunther and a committed Waltraute from Sara Fulgoni. Andrew Shore adds hallucinatory presence as Alberich.
It is still not certain whether complete cycles will be given of this uneven Ring but meanwhile, this final segment can be recommended as well worth catching.
Coliseum, London, April 2, 6, 9, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30
- Phyllida Lloyd
- English National Opera
- Cast includes
- Kathleen Broderick, Richard Berkeley-Steele, Gidon Saks, Claire Weston, Iain Paterson
- Running time
- 5hrs 50mins