HANDOUT - 01.08.2022, Bayern, Bayreuth: Fotoprobe «Die Walküre»: Stephanie Houtzeel (l-r, Siegrune), Kelly God (Gerhilde), Katie Stevenson (Rossweisse) und Daniela Köhler (Helmwige) während der Bayreuther Festspiele 2022. Fortsetzung der Bayreuther Festspiele mit einer Neuinszenierung von Richard Wagners «Die Walküre», Inszenierung von Valentin Schwarz. Foto: Enrico Nawrath/Festspiele Bayreuth/dpa - ACHTUNG: Verwendung im Internet nur bei max. Größe 1000 x 1000 Pixel - honorarfreie Verwendung nur mit vollständiger Nennung des vorstehenden Credits +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

There it was Wotan number three. That rarely happens in Bayreuth: After Tomasz Konieczny fell off his chair in the role of the father of the gods in the second act of “Valkyrie”, press spokesman Hubertus Hermann announced to the surprised audience after the break that it had been a stage accident.

It didn’t look like it at all: In Valentin Schwarz’ “Ring” production, dishes often break, the Valhalla residents occasionally throw chairs around, and Wotan had reacted to the seat collapsing under him with an effective snort of anger. But it wasn’t a directing idea, but an apparently defective prop.

Tomasz Konieczny just keeps singing for about an hour, you can’t tell anything about his voice. However, due to injury, it is no longer possible. Michael Kupfer-Radecky, who actually only appears as Gunter in Götterdämmerung, takes on the third and last act of “Walküre”, which is peppered with a particularly large number of Wotan solos.

Kupfer-Radecky jumps in as a singer and as an actor, and he also does a good job. With Egils Silins Wotan in “Rheingold” that adds up to three Wotans so far – let’s see who now embodies the god mutated into a wanderer in “Siegfried”. Tomasz Konieczny is wished a speedy recovery.

Either way, the new Bayreuth “Ring” conducted by Cornelius Meister improves musically. On the second evening of Schwarz’ family saga tetralogy, veritable Wagner singing can finally be heard in the Festspielhaus, above all by Klaus Florian Vogt and Lise Davidsen as Siegmund and Sieglinde.

It also blows noticeably more magically from the orchestra pit than in the “Rheingold”. Sublime sounds flourish, the cello sings, especially at the beginning under the world ash tree, which is anyway the most chamber music part of the “Ring”.

As far as direction is concerned, the mood changes for the first time at the end of the evening. The Valkyries as affected cosmetic surgery patients in the luxury clinic, which looks like a sexist betrayal of the most famous power women in opera history. Why does a nasty little candle on Fricka’s tea trolley have to be used for the powerful fire magic in the music? And why is Sieglinde already pregnant when she meets her twin brother Siegmund, when in the original Wagner she fathered the hero Siegfried with him? The “Ring” without incest? It remains exciting in the family soap on the Green Hill. More on that tomorrow.