Accessibility links


Sign In
  • Home
  • News
  • Listen: The Ring, Politics and Power

Listen: The Ring, Politics and Power

Michael Portillo, Matthew d’Ancona and Martin Kettle look at Wagner’s masterwork as a political analogy.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

1 October 2012 at 4.23pm | 7 Comments

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:

This session is one of a number of events on The Ring Cycle. Upcoming events on themes of nature, love and redemption will be live-tweeted during sessions with highlights available online afterwards.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

1 October 2012 at 4.23pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged audio, insights, listen, Martin Kettle, Matthew d'Ancona, Michael Portillo, Richard Wagner, ROH Insights

This article has 7 comments

  1. alan smart responded on 17 October 2012 at 3:03pm Reply

    What is is with th beeb and its love affair with that bore
    Portillo ?
    He should be put back on his endless train journey where he can bore unfortunate passengers.
    the sight of his participation in the discussion was
    sufficient to stop me listening,but I would like to have
    heard the views of other Wagner nuts.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 18 October 2012 at 4:11pm

      Hi Alan

      We aren't the BBC and we were delighted to have Michael Portillo join us for this Insights session. Have a listen - you may be surprised by how interesting his contribution is.

      Best wishes


  2. alan smart responded on 17 October 2012 at 3:06pm Reply

    More production pics,please

  3. joan wheelton responded on 19 October 2012 at 11:57am Reply

    Can you please tell me the significance of the red rope in the staging of this Ring cycle.

  4. Mark Wardil responded on 21 October 2012 at 3:12pm Reply

    I wish Opus Arte/ROH would release the video recording of the cycle on DVD

    • Rachael responded on 24 October 2012 at 8:42pm

      Seconded, and also on behalf of my husband Hal & mum Kim as well. Any chance of this ever happening?

  5. Miles responded on 24 October 2012 at 9:29am Reply

    The red rope is explicitly the rope of fate which is woven by the Norns, but its polyvalent idea. It actually reminded me of the red tape in Peter Hall's production of Oh What a Lovely War, and it works in a similar way. It emphasises the way in which apparently unrelated events are joined and contribute to the gathering momentum of destruction which is is unleashed as soon as the gold is taken from the Rhine.

Comment on this article

Your email will not be published

Website URL is optional