Monday, January 16, 2012

Christopher Lee Sings Hagen's Watch

While it's certain that if there were ever a B-Movie version made of Wagner's Ring libretto, Christopher Lee would have played Hagen, this is not going to replace Greindl, Frick or Salminen in haunted parts of anyone's imagination. This sounds like a decent but rusty singer had a few drinks and sang something from memory at a bar, which I suppose is a large part of the point of this. On the other hand, let's also realize that Lee was already in his mid-70's when he sang this. In his defense, it does sound like perfect B-movie horror - not particularly scary, but comically macabre. The sloppy, ok....really bad.... execution is entirely intentional. It makes me wonder, could the Ring Cycle be done successfully as a sort of melodramatic folk opera (not that it isn't already..)? Heavily cut, lighter voices (perhaps not even operatic), and an orchestra as electronic as it is acoustic. It would have to be rethought from the very ground up and require the audacity of a director who goes against a century and a half of established tradition. But I can't help thinking that if any work of art needs a facelift....

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