Listen: The Ring, Politics and Power
Michael Portillo, Matthew d’Ancona and Martin Kettle look at Wagner’s masterwork as a political analogy.
Eric Halfvarson as Fafner, Andrew Rees as Froh, Iain Paterson as Fasolt, Bryn Terfel as Wotan, Peter Coleman-Wright as Donner, Stig Andersen as Loge and Sarah Connolly as Fricka © Clive Barda/ROH 2012
Themes of politics and power in relation to The Ring Cycle were explored at a recent ROH Insights session. Participating in the discussion were former Conservative minister Michael Portillo, political columnist Matthew d’Ancona and Assistant Editor of the Guardian Martin Kettle.
Chairing the session, BBC Radio 4’s Ritula Shah asked the trio about the character of Wotan, viewing the cycle as a reflection of political ideology, and the misappropriation and misunderstanding of Wagner’s work by the Nazis.
Looking at the work through a prism of politics, Martin Kettle commented that he believed “In some sense Wotan is a dictator. He’s very recognizable politically”. Matthew d’Ancona added that the character reminds him of a remark by Bill Clinton: “Anyone in office will pay a huge price”. Michael Portillo also refuted the idea that the work is a hymn to power: “How the Nazis picked up on The Ring is puzzling – everyone who holds power in it is destroyed.”
Listen to highlights of the event: