This summer the Bayreuth Festival will mount a new production of The Ring of the Nibelung. It will be conducted by Kirill Petrenko, and it will be directed by Frank Castorf (pictured above). Mr. Castorf is well-known to audiences in Germany as the head of Berlin's second largest state-owned theater, the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. He is also a devout deconstructionist, and thus is infamous for tinkering with the original text of a play in his avant-garde productions.
Mr. Castorf has revealed that his new Ring at the Green Hill will use a revolving stage, as well as film. The powers that be at Bayreuth have also revealed that a clause has been added to his contract forbidding him to tamper with Wagner's original words or music. His production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Volksbühne, for example, used only one opera singer (the rest were vocally untrained actors) and the opera narrative was often interrupted by readings of texts by Ernst Toller, a Jewish writer who managed to escape Nazi Germany, and who later committed suicide by hanging himself in a New York City hotel room in 1939.
Regarding his new Ring at Bayreuth, Mr. Castorf has described the story as "a journey towards the gold of our times, oil" which will start "some time after the Second World War." On one side of the revolving stage the audience will see Berlin's Alexanderplatz, representing postmodern socialism, and as the stage turns Wall Street will appear. Mr. Castorf admits he doesn't exactly know where he's going with this Ring yet, but he's having fun finding out.
For a taste of Mr. Castorf's work, watch his short film Greed, a deconstruction of Frank Norris's naturalistic novel McTeague, as well as a homage to Erich von Stroheim's 1924 silent film masterpiece.