Friday , April 23 2021

Augsburger Puppenkiste – The monumental "Ring" in the doll's box – Culture


On the 70th, the Augsburger Puppenkiste squeezes a monumental Wagner movement in two hours. With pomp and celebrities.

Legendary are the puppets of the Augsburger Puppenkiste. Kasperl, Jim Knopf and the Urmel have charmed visitors, television and film audiences for generations. But now there's Siegfried instead of Jim Knopf, a Valkyrie instead of Urmel.

Great drama on a small stage

Crushing, meaningful, pathetic: Wagner's monumental opera cycle was designed for size from the start. 16 hours, scattered by four operas, take this great work of Wagner.

The new Augsburger Puppenkiste shows that this can also be done in small pieces: 32 puppets populate the "ring" of puppets, led by seven puppeteers.

In 17 simple but colorful images, tell the dramatic story of love, power and family conflicts.

Almost every figure in the Ring has dirt in one form or another: above all, Alberic, the Nibelung, who gets the rolling stone stealing the gold from the Rhine's daughters. From this he can forge a powerful ring.

Make bulky easy

In Augsburg, "Ring" is not sung, but spoken. The spoken roles are sometimes prominent: with medical drummer Bela B. as Riese Fafner or the satirist Oliver Kalkofe as Nibelung Mime.

At an Augsburger Puppenkiste press conference, director Florian Moch (r) presents puppets (l-r) Alberich, Fafnir, Siegfried and Brunhilde, along with set designer Hans Kauzmann and puppeteer Melanie Marschall.

Director Florian Moch (right) and his team present the puppets Alberich, Fafnir (here as a dragon), Siegfried and Brunhilde (l.n.).

KEYSTONE / Stefan Puchner

There is a modern tone. Director Florian Moch radically shortened Wagner's opulent and voluminous text and graced it with quotations from Shakespeare, Brecht, and Goethe. Often the lyrics seem wonderfully ironic.

The "Ring" is also tempered musically. Film composer Enjott Schneider, who has worked in music, incorporates rock and electronic sounds.

The most important reasons for Wagner can not be lacking in the Augsburger Puppenkiste. Rheingold's motif, for example, the ride of the Valkyrie horn motif or Siegfried.

Six puppets from Puppenkiste Augsburger: Wotan, Fricka, Freia, Loge Fafner and Fasolt (v.l.n.).

The dolls were designed with great attention to detail: Wotan, Fricka, Freia and Loge (in red), alongside the giants and builders of Walhall Fafner and Fasolt (v.l.n.n.).

Augsburger Puppenkiste

But music remains a means of accompanying individual scenes, some of which are shown as individual snapshots of a family album over three generations. Not all figures can develop completely in the short time.

«Ring» with double bottom

However, the staging is exciting and fun from start to finish. Since it does not bother that individual values ​​are missing.

A single Valkyrie strikes perfectly in Augsburg. Is that! Brünnhilde is in the Puppenbühne, a warm sweetheart with a smoky voice. Not only does it have a hint of cabaret.

Wotan is a latent megalomaniac self-promoter who cares more about his ego than about content. And Siegfried, the supposedly radiant hero, appears like a clown and naive.

But the staging is not about playing with Wagner. They say that Wagner is a fan of puppet theater.

Presumably, this "ring" would have pleased him like a puppet theater. And that concludes the circle. Respectively the ring.

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