Argo Spier's Opera Critique & Newsreels Archive 2017/18 - Benelux, Germany & France

Teatro De La Maestranza, Sevilla', Spain
Argo Spier at Teatro De La Maestranza, Sevilla, Spain


Opera critic - benelux, france, germany, spain

gentjazz 2010
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Sampel Newsreel - 'Gottdämmerung' and the ambiguity of a 'grüner ring'

Argo Spier at the Carsen Ring an 2- Tagen.   Are we destroying the earth or is it just yer a money making racket - global warming? Factories outside Köln - Wie scön ist es am Rhein?

['Gottdämmerung' and the ambiguity of a 'grüner ring'
©argospier20/03/2007 - 1000 words.
Editor/Consultant - Joneve McCormick ]

On 10 March, 2007, the day the Carsen and Kinmonth production of the 'Ring' started, the Kölner Stadt Unzeiger ran a leading article on Europe's fight against Global warming. Predictions were made as to how only one fifth of the EU's energy use of the nineties will come from re-usable energy sources in 2020. Budeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) was quoted as saying that 'the time till then should be used to save humanity from muchunhappiness.' Quite hype-ish and vague.

Another news feature had tips for the reduction of carbon-dioxide footprints: a carbon dioxide diet - Neu Aktion: Die CO2-Diät. Lovely gluttonous one might say. At the same time, in his promotional interview in a Köln Oper publication, Carsen too digresses on the pollution of ozone layers, the Rhine and the world, by carbon emissions from factories and cars. The opening scene of theVorabond, Das Rheingold, presented a setting suggesting a river and, from its banks, people was tossing debris into it. The theme of pollution once again!

Since the EU Commission on Climate Change was assembled in the days immediately prior to the opera's opening night, and its findings are always 'news' to European Citizenry, the fact that there is a coincidence between what Carsen said and what Budeskanzlerin Angela Merkel said and what the Kölner Stadt Unzeiger reported, cannot be ascribed to manipulative promotional marketing. It’s rather an actuality that is dire. Both the ideas Carsen put forward (it got his Ring dubbed the 'Grüner Ring' - Green Ring) and what Budeskanzlerin Angela Merkel has said are valid erzatz formulations of a certain perspective on reality and it does in a way concern the 'happiness of humanity' on an immediate timescale (and of the animals and plants as well) and has merit in a present day context. But in relation to Wagner's 'Ring des Niebelungen' the issue might be a bit overstretched.

The point that matters (and not so easy to confirm) when talking about a 'Grüner Wagnerian Ring' is to what extent Richard Wagner was concerned with nature conservation, ozone pollution and energy use and output when he composed the 'Ring des Niebelungen'. A 'Grüner Ring' -- is this an applicable term for a new production of Wagner's work? Doesn't the mere concept of it makes of the 'Ring des Niebelungen' an apocalyptical prophecy misguiding the spectators and listeners into believing Wagner himself was an apocalyptical figure preaching the downfall of industrialists (and gods)? Or were his references to the pollution of the Rhein, the 'stealing of the gold' (by Alberich, the horizontalist with little awareness of transcendental thought), 'the casting of a powerful object, a ring' and the 'corruptive behaviour of the higher classes' (Wotan and his household) meant as a search for interior motives in his own life concerning vertical growth and the possible discovery of the mentioned transcedental bliss of awareness? Has Wagner's trilogy with Vorabbond, Das Rheingold überhaubt anthing to do with the flat and easy to understand notion that if you dirty a river, the fish in it will die (and the Rhein fairies watching over the 'gold' will be left robbed and poor)?

There is much ambiguity in pursuing a 'Grüner Ring' as a logo for 'The Ring des Niebelungen' and not enough good reasoning in pushing this Carsen and Kinmonth production of Wagner's Ring as a 'Grüner Ring'. The concept itself sounds scythish and it is too popular. It misses much dimension too and may reduce the production to a kind of protest manifestation. And, what is worse, it has really the same soft sootiness of a virtuality that Frau Budeskanzlerin Angela Merkel has in mind when she has a 'fear' for the 'unhappiness of humanity'. It’s just hype-ish, vague and leads to controversy. The core concept in Wagner's Opera and the possibility of myth-working and myth-thinking within the own psyche gets blurred. And coming to terms with it, it won't lead to self-introspection and a new perspective on the destructive forces of the 'within' that ruin the 'happiness of humanity' for which Wagner's opera becomes, in effect, a 'new arena' in which awareness begins a battle with horizontally political thought.

The 'Ring des Niebelungen' isn't 'grün' at all, it's rather a school - and for that matter, a school of a different order wanting to teach its spectator transcendental awareness. But also, yes, it's only an Opera and the Carsen and Kinmonth production is of a brilliance that is exhilarating to the soul. Many of the spectators that came from all over Germany and neighbouring countries in their carbon dioxide emission cars and wearing their lovely garments, the manufacturing of which helped pollute the 'Umwelt', were absolutely stunned with the performance.

I was one of them! Bravo to Carsen and Kinmonth!

Argo Spier

Note to Media and Opera Houses

Argo Spier, Opera Critic in the Benelux, is working together with Elaine Parny, Consulting Editor in the USA, and Sue Trevillian, Consulting Editor in Australia, and distributes critiques, newsreels, articles and interviews covering opera productions in European venues and distribute it to a diversity of outlets. Presently some 30 Art Editors worldwide has access to the articles and new material and articles are offered for sale and distributed according to the feasibility of having it published in the printed press in the various countries. These articles are for sale to the media. Music Halls and Opera Houses are free to copy and paste from it at their own discretion and without consent from Opera Pages. A by-line to Opera Pages and/or Argo Spier will however be appreciated. Opera Houses, music companies and productions in general get a broad promotional exposure, resulting in larger audiences for future productions whether our articles are sold or not. With our efforts we also wish to create an increasing good will towards opera and we encourage our readers and Art Editors to visit the diverse websites of respective Opera Houses and Classical Music Halls.

See list of sample articles below.

Opera Houses may let us have their newsletters, press maps, photos and an invitation to visit their productions in digital form. We make good use of materials in ways that help Opera Houses in their promotional campaigns. But please note that we DO NOT reproduce what the Opera Houses write themselves about productions. Media may commission us and/or make suggestions to review specific operas, write articles for special issues and/or publications, as well as cover special events and trends in the opera world.

Note to the Press Officers

We use our online pages as 'worksheets', enabling art directors to quickly browse, verify the content of our news articles and interviews, and decide whether they would like to buy what we write or produce their own commentary using the unadulterated and direct links we give, thus saving them time. This process in itself is exposure for your activities. The pages are a ‘platform’ for exchange. They allow an efficient quick review and are used as a source for copying and pasting news-related material. You too may copy and use the whole of the content or parts of it at your discretion. (A byline would be appreciated.) This year we have 30 additional venues worldwide in our network. (For your convenience here’s a link to thousands of newspapers should you wish to build your own international contact list use this link - online newspapers - but you will soon discover that this is not so easy and quite time-consuming. There is always the danger of spamming too.) Regarding the content of what we write, we do not ‘advertise’ programs or duplicate what Opera Houses write about their own productions. News value for us includes overviews, attitudes, themes and traits. Ref. our series on the coming into existence of a 'Northern Wagnerian Sanctuary in the Low Lands’. We predicted long before it came to pass that the Opera Essen could do nothing other than try Wagner’s Ring. And this way it would spread out over a period of time and with different directors. Re the Sanctuary theory see:

integrated newsreel

wagnerian sanction

The relationship we wish to build with Opera Houses (and we have it with many already) is not one based on privilege but rather one of convivial sharing of information, efficiency and goodwill. It's better for me to attend a Premiere but it is not imperative and also it is often not possible. Getting invitations, however, is always a reminder and puts me in a position to adapt schedules. Of course we cannot attend all the performances across Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, France and Belgium. We hope you will consider the possibilities of the pages we offer and in due course help us to create something worthwhile for your Opera House's activity. We cannot function without assistance from you.

Argo Spier, Opera Pages
Consulting editor, Joneve McCormick, USA


Interview sampels
Yves Rosseel
Manfred Honeck
Robert Alanya & Sumi jo
Giogio Brattistelli
Nicola Luisotti

articles sampels - available & scheduled

Newsreel - 'Gottdämmerung' and the ambiguity of a 'grüner ring'
New Wagnerian Sanctuary in the ‘Low Lands’
Carson and Kinmonth's production versus Ivo Van Hove's - 'Der Ring des Niebelungen'
'Untergang' in Carsen and Kinmonth production of 'Ring an 2-Tagen', Köln Oper.
The feasibility of visiting operas in Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands.
Lohengrin – a well thought out choice for Teateraachen

Inconvenient Truths and opera

Opera as a vehicle in unification processes.

New York tenor in Grand Theatre du Luxumbourg

Role models used in Wagnarian Opera productions.

The antiquating of Wandering Myths.

Opera Houses in the Upper Rhein region.

The role of audiences in Wabnerian opera performances

Wagnerian audiences and obsessesion

Interview Manfred Honeck

Interview Sumi Jo

Interview Roberto Alagna

Feasibality of visiting operas in the Benelux

Quick links to the Programs of Opera Houses we write about

Argospier library
Oper Frankfurt
Oper am Rhein
Oper Köln
De Munt - Brussels