I am happy (for them) and a little be terrified to learn that there are still people able to enjoy myths the way people could and did 150 years ago. As if Frazer, Levi-Bruhl, Levi-Strauss, Barthes and Girard had never existed. What Chereau perfectly knew is that it was impossible for cultivated men at the end of the seventies to take seriously wagnerian myths because those myths had been deconstructed by decades of ethnological and sociological researches. But Wagner is a genius and it would have been a pity to stop staging his operas only because one aspect of the dramatic language he used had fallen in the dustbins of History. Saying that the Ring must be staged only in universality and intemporality is condemning Wagner to tackyness and, ultimately, oblivion. The very concepts of intemporality and universality are meaningless for a modern mind – intemporality and universality are historical concepts and the products of a specific social and cultural environment. So Chereau had to get rid of all the mythological pararaphernalia that only philistines, whose intellectual environment resembles Alfred Rosenberg’s, seem today to regret. [Obvious sics omitted for readability's sake.]
One tries hard to imagine the above is nothing more than a spot-on caricature, even burlesque, of the postmodern mindset. Sadly, one comes quickly to the realization that it's nothing of the sort, but is instead an earnest, dead-serious expression of that mindset.
Is it any wonder that Eurotrash outrages such as the Chéreau centennial Ring, and the even more grotesque outrages that followed over the following more than three decades, are today gaining mainstream acceptance in major opera houses worldwide?
No, not a bit of it.