Ring des Nibelungen in 7 Hours (Colón Ring)

Wagner Ring des Nibelungen in 7 Hours (Colón Ring). Directed 2012 by Valentina Carrasco at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Special abridged adaption of the Ring by Cord Garben was presented live in one day in 4 parts with 3 intermissions over 9 hours; this boils down to about 8 hours of music and intermissions in recorded form. Stars Linda Watson, Jukka Rasilainen, Stig Andersen, Leonid Zakhozhaev, Andrew Shore, Marion Ammann, Simone Schröder, Kevin Conners, Sabine Hogrefe, Gerard Kim, Sonja Mühleck-Witte, Daniel Sumegi, Gary Jankowski,  Stefan Heibach, Silja Schindler, Uta Christina Georg, Bernadett Fodor, Sabine Hogrefe, Susanne Geb, Manuela Bress, and Adriana Mastrángelo. Roberto Paternostro conducted the Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Colón (Chorus Master Peter Burian). Sets by Carles Berga (based on original designs by Schlössmann); costumes by Nidia Tusal; lighting by Peter Van Praet; video direction by Ernestine Böttcher and Karina Barresi.

Box also has a separate disc with a documentary by Hans Christoph Von Bock called The Colón Ring. (This documentary is also available as a separate title.) Set has 3 discs. The opera lasts 489 minutes; the documentary lasts 93 minutes. Released 2013, opera has 5.1 PCM sound. Grade: Help!

Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires is the most important opera venue in South America. Cord Garben and friends set out to produce an abridged version of the Ring that could be enjoyed in one (long) day at the opera. The project encountered numerous difficulties, but was eventually shown several times. The promoters hoped that the production would then be taken up by other houses with improvements, etc., but apparently this has not happened yet. All of this has been discussed in depth on the Internet.

I happened to see a TV version of the documentary on the Internet. My impressions are that production was rough and crude. But it had some world-class singers and incorporated powerful allusions to the history of Argentina; the opera-starved audience seemed pretty enthusiastic at the end of the premiere. The documentary is quite well-made. For the rest of us, the documentary might be more interesting than the 7-hour Ring itself. I doubt that these recordings are going to be competitive in the market with the better Wagner recordings we now have. But a lot of people put a lot of effort into this---maybe the availability of these titles will attract attention within the opera world and eventually lead to a more successful version of "Wagner Ring Light."

Mike Ashman reviewed this in the October 2013 Gramophone (pages 94-95) mostly focusing on weaknesses in the performance caused by the many disruptions in the production of the event. Still, he concludes that "Unprissy, adventurous Wagnerians will want to hear and see [subject title], if only to argue."

Please help us with a review of this unusual title!