Cycling Towards Exhaustion, And For What?

Wagner’s Ring cycle is a daunting thing to stage under any circumstances, but to do it in four days with a traveling company that sets up shop in a new city whenever it feels like it? That’s approaching insanity, and yet, it’s what Valery Gergiev and his Mariinsky Theatre have been doing lately. Andrew Clarke is impressed with the dedication and effort of all involved, but says that the end result is less than stellar. “Much of the performance looked poorly rehearsed. Singers didn’t react to each other, preferring to follow a basic sequence of moves… With one or two exceptions, the standard of German was lamentable: why doesn’t Gergiev employ a language coach? As for the singing, there was not much of international standard.”