Revival director gives insight into staging Wagner Dream

9 May 2013

Miranda Lakerveld, revival director for Wagner Dream, has given an insight into what it’s like to stage Harvey’s opera, and how its themes of Buddhism and spirituality shape its direction.

Wagner Dream is a production that was created in 2007, yet it is also new because of the translations into German and Pali. The idea of the piece is marvellous; the fact that Wagner wanted to write a Buddhist opera for years, and never managed to, is unknown to most opera-lovers.

Jonathan Harvey used the Buddhist concept of letting go of earthly concerns at the moment of death (for the soul to achieve a higher destiny in the next life) as a dramatic motor, which works extremely well. Wagner sees the Indian opera he never wrote in his mind's eye, and we see it with him.

It is not a large opera, it is intimate, but it is very dense, and it holds the same intensity as a Wagner opera.

Pierre Audi's staging is almost like choreography, where the two worlds are shown to be interdependent. Interdependency is another beautiful Buddhist concept, where all events that take place are in relation to each other. The Indian story mirrors Wagner's story, and vice versa in many ways.

In the end it comes down to a real question about the artist's motivation. Wagner is confronted with the concept of selflessness in this piece, which is an idea he has great difficulty accepting.”