La Fura dels Baus, famous for their opening ceremony of the Olympic games in Barcelona and opera stagings in Salzburg, Ruhrtriennale, etc., use in Rheingold 3D computer projections that evoke computer games, organic structures built of athletic performers that recall the "Cirque du soleil". “Uusitalo is a commanding, mellifluous Wotan and although Jennifer Wilson's Brünnhilde is relatively unnuanced dramatically, she sings strongly and sensitively…The youthful Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana obediently and expertly delivers the plushy textures and stagey rhetoric Mehta requires” (Gramophone).
In Patrice Chéreau's illuminating, violent Bayreuth production of Das Rheingold, Wotan wears the brocade coat of feudal times while the Rhine seems to be a reservoir with a modern power station - but, as Chéreau states, it "could also be many other things… a menacing construction, a theatrical machine to produce a river, an allegorical shape that today generates energy: perhaps a mythological presence, the mythology of our time… The gods' ascent to Valhalla (is) a defiant flight into the future."
The undeniable merit of this recording is that it preserves what a vividly marvelous piece of musical melodrama this opera is, abounding with lyrical moments and cracklingly powerful scenes, and marked throughout by engaged and engaging acting by the principals. It also allows one to contemplate how rich in influences this opera was upon the young Verdi and Wagner, in equal measure. There are pre-echoes here of the choral writing in Flying Dutchman, Wotan’s Spear, even the “Magic Fire Music,” as well as Verdi’s dispensation of groundswell choral scenes and dramatic use of parlando.
Christopher Williams, FANFARE