NEWS FROM NIBELHEIM: SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING NEW
One of the initial choices a director makes in preparing a production is what does it look like? How will I interpret the story? The people you first turn to are your collaborators in the production team, the designers and choreographer. In this case, we also used projections as well as scenery, lights and costumes to define our world.
Many people have asked me how we arrived at the visual world to tell our story. When I worked with the designers, now over a ten-year arc, we thought a lot about how Wagner wrote a story about the end of the world using Nordic myths as his model. In turn, we thought how would we parallel that for today’s audiences.
We decided to tell the stories of the four operas by using imagery from our recent and past history, as well as an imagined future, to create our own mythology. A mythology that did not exist in Wagner’s time, but one for today that seems to be the fulfillment of his prophecies. You can see the physical manifestation of this “mythology” in our designs.
But how does that play out in rehearsals with singers as well? For example, the other day during a Rhinegold session we spent most of the time discussing the political landscape of today and how certain characters embody some of the qualities of various world politicians. These kind of acting choices use our own “mythology” to connect us back to the words and music of Wagner.
– Francesca Zambello, WNO Artistic Director and Ring director