Wagner's Dream

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Wagner's Dream
Wagner's Dream.jpg
Directed by Susan Froemke
Produced by Susan Froemke
Douglas Graves
Starring Robert Lepage
Peter Gelb
Deborah Voigt
Edited by Bob Eisenhardt
Release date
Running time
112 min.
Country United States
Language English

Wagner's Dream is a documentary film directed by Susan Froemke. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25, 2012 and was shown in high definition in theaters across the United States and Canada on May 7, 2012,[1][2] the subject of the film is the staging of a new production of Richard Wagner's four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Metropolitan Opera beginning in 2010.[2]


Froemke, who has previously filmed at the opera house, claims that she was given no limits by the opera company in filming the documentary,[2] the documentary captures the challenges of creating the new production, including a complex 45 ton set designed by Robert Lepage.[2][3] Even moving the huge set from Quebec, where it was constructed, to New York City was challenging, in part because the opera house was expecting the set to weigh only 25 tons,[4] among the mishaps covered in the documentary are the failure of the set to work properly at the premiere of the first Ring opera, Das Rheingold, and Deborah Voigt in the role of Brünnhilde falling and sliding down the set upon her entrance at the premiere of Die Walküre.[3] The documentary covers other challenges faced, including the Metropolitan Opera's music director being forced to step down as conductor before the last two productions premiered and the need for tenor Jay Hunter Morris to step into the title role of Siegfried just three days before its premiere.[3] The film records the fact that despite its technological advances, Lepage was ultimately disappointed that he could not get the set to "figuratively stand on its head" during the final opera, Götterdämmerung.[4]

The film avoids making Lepage or Metropolitan Opera general manager Peter Gelb scapegoats for the challenges.[2][4] James R. Oestreich of The New York Times claims that "the tone is basically adulatory, apart from a few skeptical notes sounded by ticket buyers and audience members," and notes that Gelb and Lepage "cut heroic figures in an epic adventure."[2] David Patrick Stearns of The Philadelphia Inquirer was "charmed" by Voigt in the film.[4]


The soundtrack of Wagner's Dream incorporates Wagner's music.[2] Oestreich particularly praises the use of the music from the descent to Nibelheim from the end of scene 2 of Das Rheingold to accompany the production's move from Quebec to New York.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

David Patrick Stearns of The Philadelphia Inquirer stated that "the film is destined to be one of the classic documentaries about opera."[4] James R. Oestreich of The New York Times felt it was "a bit long" but "beautifully made."[2] Ronnie Scheib of Variety called it "a highly entertaining outing for operaphiles and operaphobes alike."[3] John Terauds of Toronto.com stated that "It's a high-stakes gamble that Susan Froemke has captured [it] in all of its breast-plate-and-spear glory in a two-hour documentary that has as many hair-raising, stomach-churning moments as a ride on Wonderland’s new Leviathan."[5] Tom Huizenga of NPR called it a "meticulously unpacked if ultimately unmemorable diary of the company's high-stakes production."[6] Steve Smith of Time Out New York says "To its credit, Wagner’s Dream includes revealing footage of Promethean labors undertaken by cast and crew, misfires included." [7]


The cast of Wagner's Dream includes:[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Leonard Lopate Show: Wagner's Dream". WNYC. Retrieved 2012-05-16. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Oestreich, James R. (May 7, 2012). "Tale of the Met's 45-Ton Diva". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-16. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Scheib, R. (May 3, 2012). "Wagner's Dream". Variety. Retrieved 2012-05-16. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Stearns, David Patrick (May 6, 2012). "'Wagner's Dream,' a struggle on Met stage captured on film". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2012-05-16. 
  5. ^ Terauds, J. (May 3, 2012). "Wagner's Dream review: Man meets machine at the Metropolitan Opera". toronto.com. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  6. ^ Huizenga, Tom (May 7, 2012). "Wagner's Dream: Is It The Met's Nightmare?". NPR. Retrieved 2012-05-16. 
  7. ^ Steve, S. (July 20, 2012). "Wagner's Dream". Time_Out_(company). Retrieved 2012-07-25. 

External links[edit]