DW is honoring the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner's birth with the multimedia project Wagner200 and the TV documentary The Colón Ring about a unique production of the German composer's "Ring" cycle in Buenos Aires.
DW's TV production titled "The Colón Ring - Wagner in Buenos Aires" premiered at the Delphi Filmpalast movie theater in Berlin on April 14, receiving praise and warm applause from over 600 guests, including ambassadors, politicians and media representatives. Its worldwide debut on DW Television channels is scheduled on May 11 and 18, just before the 200th anniversary of German composer Richard Wagner's birth on May 22. The two-part documentary will be broadcast in German, English, Spanish and Arabic.
The film follows the legendary opera house Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as its members stage Wagner's music drama The Ring of the Nibelung. The 2012 performance in Argentina was a world first, which condensed Wagner's epic opera The Ring of the Nibelung into a seven-hour version. In addition to the upcoming debut of The Colón Ring on DW television, DVD and Blu-ray box set versions of the film are scheduled for release by label C Major in May as well. The box sets also include the multi-camera recording of the performance itself.
"The 200th anniversary of the artist's birth is one of the defining cultural events of 2013 – and, therefore, it is also at the center of Deutsche Welle's cultural reporting," said DW Director General Erik Bettermann.
The score for the single-day version of The Ring of the Nibelung is an adaptation by Hamburg musicologist Cord Garben. Valentina Carrasco from Argentina was at the helm of the Teatro Colón production. She took over as director in October 2012, just 33 days before the November 27 premiere, after the original director - the composer's great-granddaughter Katharina Wagner - bowed out of the role.
When asked why she agreed to take over at such short notice, Carrasco replied, "Who can say 'no' to Wagner?”
For the documentary's director, Hans Christoph von Bock, capturing the rehearsal process and the artists involved on film was quite a challenge. "After all of the problems caused by Katharina Wagner's departure, I had to win the trust of the ensemble and the staff of Teatro Colón," he said.
For co-producer Bernhard Fleischer, maintaining composure was an important aspect in the project's successful completion. The project manager on the DW side, Rolf Rische, reported being very pleased with the final result.
Meanwhile, DW's multimedia special Wagner200, accessible online at www.dw.de, also celebrates the Wagner anniversary in a number of other ways. Users combing the website for more information about the TV documentary can find workshop reports, background material on Teatro Colón, biographies of the theater's artists and producers and much more about the composer and his work. The multimedia project Wagner200 is available in four languages: German, English, Spanish and Russian.