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Colón Ring

Who can say 'no' to Wagner? - Impressions from the premiere

Fervent applause and big emotions met the premiere of the 93-minute film documentary "The Colón Ring - Wagner in Buenos Aires" at Berlin's Delphi Filmpalast theater.

Over 600 guests - including ambassadors, members of parliament and many media representatives - experienced by way of the DW film how an international ensemble of artists was able to overcome conflicts and setbacks in order to realize a goal that at times seemed impossible: The world premiere of a seven-hour version of Richard Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung" at the legendary Teatro Colón.

Soprano Linda Watson

Cheered by the crowd: Soprano Linda Watson

After the documentary ran, Deutsche Welle moderator Meike Krüger invited the most important protagonists, including Austrian conductor Roberto Pasternostro, as well as the filmmaker to the stage. Pasternostro was visibly touched to have seen six weeks of work bringing the opera to stage now captured on film.

"In the period before the opera's premiere, we sometimes rehearsed 16 hours a day," he said.

Star soprano Linda Watson recalled how difficult it was for the ensemble when the original director of the production, Katharina Wagner, suddenly quit and the new director, Valentina Carrasco, took over.

"A lot of patience and trust in the project were necessary to keep going," she said.

Valentina Carrasco being interviewed

Valentina Carrasco: Who could say 'no' to Wagner?

When asked why she agreed to take over at such short notice, the Argentine Valentina Carrasco replied, "Who can say 'no' to Wagner?" She added that she initially thought the Teatro Colón's director, Pedro Pablo García Caffi, was joking when he asked her if she wanted the job 33 days ahead of the opera's premiere.

For director Hans Christoph von Bock, it was a major challenge to capture on film how the production took shape.

"After all of the problems that resulted from Katharina Wagner's departure, I really had to build trust with the ensemble and the theater's workers," he said.

But the work paid off. Ultimately, von Bock was able to film nearly everywhere with his team, capturing the intense phase of preparations on camera, up close and personal.

Members of the opera ensemble, stage workers from Teatro Colón and the filmmakers pose together

Members of the opera ensemble, stage workers from Teatro Colón and the filmmakers

For co-producer Bernhard Fleischer, it was essential not to lose his nerve. The project was almost scrapped at several junctures. And DW project manager Rolf Rische also said he was pleased with the result: "For us, 'The Colón Ring' was right from the start an unusually exciting project. But also unusually stressful. I'd like to thank the director and the producer for their endurance, as well as journalists Reiner Schild and Samira Schellhaaß. All in all, it was great teamwork."

DW.DE