The Grand Théâtre de Genève has been working its way through the Ring cycle, in the staging by Dieter Dorn. After Das Rheingold last March, it was time for Die Walküre this month. Marie-Aude Roux was there (Si "La Walkyrie" nous était contée, November 9) for Le Monde (my translation):
On a purified and timeless set -- a few wood panels for the hovel of the humans, a mass of tectonic plates for the gods -- the director Dieter Dorn imposes on the different protagonists (costumed in simple woodsmen's outfits or habits inspired by some samurai saga) acting direction both sensible and profound. Gods and dwarves, dragon and giants rub shoulders with men, rams, and horses: Dieter Dorn takes the ironic step of treating the animals anthropomorphically (the "human" rams of Fricka, the man-like horses of the Valkyries) or in the shape of articulated marionettes (Grane, the iron steed of Brünnhilde is the work of the Puppet Players), thus making the myth something like a child's fairy tale. Particularly striking is the scene where Wotan, forced to sacrifice those he loves (his son Siegmund, then his daughter Brünnhilde), seems to come apart in the way that his justifying monologue raises up the menacing shards of plates of shining mirrors -- the same ones that will protect Brünnhilde, fallen asleep in her circle of fire.Both the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the cast had their shortcomings, with the conductor, Ingo Metzmacher choosing tempos often too fast, but both won Roux over. Among the singers, the Fricka of Elena Zhidkova and the Hunding of Günther Groissböck stood out for praise. (Christian Merlin's impressions were quite similar for Le Figaro.) No word yet on whether the performance will be broadcast on France Musique or Arte.