Das Rheingold (Dress Rehearsal) • Met Opera • March 6 2019

Robert Lepage is an autistic tech nerd. I do not mind the “machine” but his utter neglect of the singers in favor of technology is alarming at best and loathsome at its worst. What missed opportunities! But none of the abstraction offered via his "Ex Machina” (Sine Deum, I might add) crossed over into the emotional journey of the singers or even the actual staging, which was as banal, obvious, clichéd and heavy-handed as it gets. The whole production comes across as haplessly provincial and extremely literal. It did not help that the cast was very uneven and that the conductor rushed through the score like mad. Some aerial circus effects were at first nice to look at but none of them were fine-tuned enough to have an emotional impact beyond the cheap wow-factor. The horizontal walking of the singers, suspended on wires and appearing to be seen from above, was impressive but having them walk towards an open door out of which light is streaming and then have them not walk through it makes the magic collapse. There ought to have been a better solution.

The costume are simply ridiculous, looking as if they had either kept the already tacky ones from the old Otto Schenk production or as if the director and costume designer had never had a conversation. The clash between the different aesthetics is simply jarring. Altogether, this Ring must be the cheapest most expensive production in opera history.