As originally conceived, Wagner’s foray into the world of Teutonic myth was to be confined to a single opera, Siegfried’s Deaththat roughly traversed the scenario of what we now know as Götterdämmerung. How peculiar and unsatisfying a piece that would have been. It’s a truism to say that the composer and musical polemicist effectively dropped his bundle in the final installment of the cycle, at least when it came to his theories on how the music-drama of the future must behave.

It doesn’t especially worry me that he resorts back to all the old Meyerbeerian conventions (trios, ‘oath duets’, spectacular choral set-pieces and the like) that he had publically ridiculed. What’s more disappointing is the diminishing of the level of allegory (deep enough to allow one to insert an interpretation of choice, be it Marxist, Nietzschian, Jungian, Freudian or, in this production, Ecological) that has been so persuasively sustained up to this point. It gets tangled and temporarily submerged in the operatically stock and almost petty web of betrayal and revenge plotting that seems to occupy the bulk of the evening.

Of course there’s a huge amount to enjoy nevertheless. The production begins strongly with the Norns (Elizabeth Campbell, Jacqueline...