MU­SICDVDs

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - REVIEWS CDs - Col­man Mor­ris­sey Tony Clay­ton-Lea

WAG­NER: DAS RING DES NI­BELUN­GEN Soloists: John Brocheler, Jeannine Alt­meyer, Chris Mer­ritt, Henk Smit, John Keyes, Kurt Rydl, etc; Orches­tras: Res­i­den­tie Orches­tra, The Hague, Phil­har­m­monic Orches­tra, Nether­lands Phil­har­monic. Opus Arte ★★★★★ Wag­ner’s Ring, deal­ing as it does with pro­found is­sues of pub­lic and private moral­ity, is prob­a­bly the most am­bi­tious of all op­er­atic works. To re­alise the com­poser’s enor­mous con­cep­tion, di­rec­tor Pierre Audi has opted here for a semi-ab­stract pro­duc­tion. The stage con­sists of a num­ber of hor­i­zon­tal planes (which can be sloped) with the orches­tra some­times in the cen­tre of the singers, thereby al­low­ing Audi to deal with the widely dif­fer­ing stag­ing de­mands of the cy­cle. Ex­cel­lent cast­ing of the key roles of Wotan, Brun­hilde and Siegfried, com­bined with the imag­i­na­tive stag­ing, makes for a dra­mat­i­cally sat­is­fy­ing in­ter­pre­ta­tion of this most de­mand­ing of Wag­ner’s works. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing ma­te­rial con­tains an in­tro­duc­tion to each of the op­eras, to­gether with a doc­u­men­tary on the project. This is a very sat­is­fy­ing ac­count of one of the great­est mas­ter­pieces of 19th­cen­tury opera. www.opusarte.com Ooh, boy, you can feel the chill from here. The Pix­ies, one of the most dys­func­tional rock acts of the past 20 years, re­formed in 2004, 12 years af­ter lead singer and main song­writer Black Francis (aka Charles Thompson) an­nounced his in­ten­tion (by a stiffly worded fax) to leave for pas­tures new. This su- perb doc­u­men­tary fol­lows the nor­mally cam­era-shy band on their re­union tour – back­stage, re­hearsals, tour bus, per­for­mances. De­spite the sur­prise of sell-out con­certs that greets them like a con­grat­u­la­tory slap on the back, it’s clear from early on that they still dis­like each other. Telling si­lences, barely con­cealed con­tempt, sour hu­mour . . . it’s all here in what amounts to a Mike Leigh movie with a crack­ing sound­track.

★★★★

You can cut the ten­sion with a knife: Black Francis of The Pix­ies

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