Where do we go from here?
When Der Ring des Nibelungen was first performed in its entirety at the first Bayreuth Festival in 1876 its creator Richard Wagner had left the conventional genre of opera behind. He called it a “music drama” and indeed his epic cycle over four nights, which is rooted in Nordic Mythology, is a complex universe, monumental in proportion, depth, philosophy and psychology. It has since inspired many productions to examine the fascinating plot about gods, giants, dwarfs and dragons, and to find a deeper meaning below what could, on the surface, look like a simple fairy tale.
The somewhat prophetic story explores themes of ego, power, greed, money, war, violence and, last but not least, the destruction of nature. The events are set in motion when the young god Wotan drinks from the fountain of wisdom and gives one of his eyes in exchange. He then breaks off a branch from the world ash tree out of which he forms his spear of power. However, he leaves the tree badly wounded and in a slow dying process.
In VO’s production we follow the gods rise to power and see it as a timely allegory for human evolution. Starting out as simple primates we have evolved to dominate the world. However, in our obsessive need for power we have exploited the earth and come to a point where we may cause our own destruction.
On the other hand, as we distance ourselves more and more from a natural state, we enter deeper into a digital realm. Quantum computers, processors, and algorithms take over our lives as we slowly morph into bionic beings, part human part machine. As the physical world declines, the virtual world expands.
So, where do we go from here? How will the story of humanity continue? Will we meet our own self-inflicted demise? Or is the violence and destruction simply the birth pangs of a new state of consciousness in which we transcend the perceived world of matter and no longer are confined to the physical form of our fragile bodies?
Joachim Schamberger © 2023 | All Rights Reserved
stage director, video designer, opera coach