The film Wagner's Dream, a two-hour "documentary" by Susan Froemke made as a tool to promote the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen directed by Robert Lepage, was televised last night by PBS and contrary to the film's purpose it unwittingly served to reveal instead just why this appallingly expensive production of the Ring is the appalling artistic failure it is. The film showed us the basic workings of Mr. Lepage's brainchild — the colossal $16M Frankenstein contraption we've previously labeled Le Machine — and the hugely complex controls and manipulations necessary to make it work, and spent most of the rest of the time showing us the performers learning to navigate its territory and adapt to its peculiarities without doing themselves lethal injury. There were also scenes showing the lead singers rehearsing their music, talking about their roles, and coming to grips with their insecurities; Met General Manager Peter Gelb doing his spiels; a few brief opera patron comments on the production; and a few visits with Met radio hosts Margaret Juntwait and William Berger doing their thing, and that was pretty much it for the film. Notice anything missing? Here's a clue: what's missing is what's missing in the actual production of the Ring itself: any semblance or hint of directorial shaping of the musico-dramatic realization of Wagner's cosmic vision by Monsieur Lepage. That, it seems, was left to the dictates and requirements of Le Machine and the whims and inclinations of the individual performers, each according to his or her wont. Marvel ye not, then, at the production's appalling artistic failure.