The long-awaited and much discussed in advance Der Ring des Nibelungen has started with Das Rheingold. I was interested to see how this new version, unexpectedly directed by Anna Kelo instead of Kari Heiskanen (who neverthelless was paid for it), would turn out. The artistic director of the Finnish National Opera Lilli Paasikivi (who also sang Fricka) said they wanted a timeless version that could be shown for a long time. I hope this will prove to be so, although the goal is difficult to reach.

This version is completely without any contemporary allusions, a simple fairytale with the plot plainly in sight, which I found surprisingly enjoyable. The singers were all from the National Opera and very good. The giants in particular, Jyrki Korhonen and Koit Soasepp, were enjoyable. However, Wotan's (Tommi Hakala) German pronunciation was annoying: "Shasht du nisht Loge?" The staging was unremarkable, but with lightning it had its moments (all by Mikki Kunttu): apparently the Germanic gods lived on the Olympus and wore toga-like garments (Erika Turunen). The conductor was Esa-Pekka Salonen.


The audience is arriving.

I would still be interested to see also Heiskanen's version with its critique of capitalism - not out of tune with Richard Wagner's own thinking, I believe.

And next Die Walküre in June...