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Man filming Wagner bust Copyright: DW
Man filming Wagner bustImage: DW

The 'Ring' in Teatro Colón

Samira Schellhaaß
September 27, 2012

To honor Richard Wagner's 200th birthday, Latin America's famous opera house in Buenos Aires hosted a one-of-a-kind project: Performing Wagner's powerful music drama "The Ring of the Nibelung" on stage in a single day.


With a view towards the Richard Wagner bicentennial, the Teatro Colón staged a brand new, abridged version of the music drama "The Ring of the Nibelung" - with Deutsche Welle as exclusive media partner.

Richard Wagner's mighty tetralogy was performed at the Theatro Colón in the abridged version on a single day.

Valentina Carrasco, known in connection with the group "La Fura dels Baus," was the stage director, with Roberto Paternostro conducting the Teatro Colón Orchestra, Linda Watson in the role of Brünnhilde and Stig Andersen as Siegmund. The premiere was on November 27, 2012.

Deutsche Welle and Bernhard Fleischer Moving Images have co-produced a documentary and a multi-camera recording of the roughly seven-hour version of the opera tetralogy.


The documentary film "Der Colón Ring - Wagner in Buenos Aires" (The Colón Ring - Wagner in Buenos Aires), directed by Hans Christoph von Bock, follows each step of the unusual production. The film aims to entertain while showing how Wagner's vision of "The Ring of the Nibelung" emerges as a Gesamtkunstwerk and an all-encompassing live theater experience.

Getting an ambitious project such as this off the ground involves its own set of difficulties: Katharina Wagner, the composer's great-granddaughter, was originally supposed to serve as stage director but canceled just six weeks before the premiere. Valentina Carrasco jumped in at the last minute. The film tells how the ensemble responded to the changes and how the new director devised and realized her rendition in such a short time.

In that atmosphere of urgency, several camera teams followed the unique project both in front of and behind the stage up to the premiere on November 27.

This was in fact the first staging of Wagner's work in this particular form. The 16-hour, four-day work was adapted by the renowned music scholar Cord Garben. His seven-hour version is a serious alternative for opera houses and audiences alike. It includes essential elements such as "The Ride of the Valkyries" and Brünnhilde's final solo.

With attractive and elaborate graphics and in high definition, the film's aesthetics are shaped by contemporary techniques seldom employed in classical music documentaries. Both hand-held filming of reporting sequences and more elaborate equipment such as cranes and dollies are used.

The essential sequences for the documentary are drawn from the multi-camera recording of the full performance. The complete recording is included in the DVD release.The 93-minute documentary premieres in a Berlin movie theater on April 14, 2013. It will be broadcast in German, English, Spanish and Arabic in two parts on Deutsche Welle TV's "In Focus." Along with the multi-camera opera recording, "The Colón Ring - Wagner in Buenos Aires" will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on the "C Major" music label.

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