Exhaustive to the point of being occasionally exhausting, Wagner's Dream charts the audacious efforts of opera director Robert Lepage to stage Wagner's four-part Ring cycle—the medium's most daunting challenge and one even Wagner himself had never satisfactorily pulled off—at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2011–12. Susan Froemke's documentary details the four-year process of putting together this show, which is defined by the immense creative and logistical risks of employing a complicated multi-plank set (replete with video projections) that severely diverges from more conventional, literal past productions. Expertly assembled by editor Bob Eisenhardt, Froemke's footage covers every aspect of the lead-up to and debut of the opera, a process that requires not only massive planning but also last-second problem solving when the inevitable technical glitches, illnesses, and performer anxieties threaten everything. Froemke's comprehensive backstage pass of a film has run out of drama. Nonetheless, it remains a rousing portrait of creative renewal and, specifically, the way in which—by attempting something daring and new in the face of an opera culture deeply invested in tradition—Lepage proves that classic art can survive and flourish in a marriage with modern technology and imagination. Nick Schager
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.
More Film News
- Teen Sex Comedy ‘Staten Island Summer’ Works Best If You’re Hard Up
- If the Devil Were Real, He’d Demand Better Horror Flicks Than ‘The Vatican Tapes’
- Doc 'A Gay Girl in Damascus' Finds Resonant Truth in an Online Fiction
- Slack Mystery ‘Frank the Bastard’ Proves You Can Go Home Again (But It Won’t Be...