Critics and audiences were at odds over Robert Lepage’s Ring cycle. Critics complained about a lack of psychological insight and engagement with the work’s philosophical themes, while audiences, on the whole, enjoyed the spectacle and the novel visual conception. The production centres on the so-called “machine”, a row of giant paddles positioned on a horizontal spindle at the back of the stage. In fact, it doesn’t have much to do in Götterdämmerung, at least compared to the central role it plays in the previous dramas, but it looms over the action throughout this final instalment, and is called into service to represent the Rhine and the Gibichung Hall, both of which it does very effectively.

Fabio Luisi’s conducting is proficient, although occasionally lacking in zest and drama. The two main leads, Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde and Jay Hunter Morris as Siegfried, are also worthy rather than exceptional. But the rest of the cast is first-rate: Hans-Peter König is a sinister Alberich, with an impressively rich voice; Iain Paterson gives the finest characterisation of Gunter that you’ll find anywhere; Wendy Bryn Harmer is a little harsh on the ear, but utterly convincing as Gutrune; and, in the ultimate piece of luxury casting, Waltraud Meier is a vocally superlative Waltraute.

It is important to acknowledge the faults of this production. Lepage is great on spectacle but poor on drama and has little feeling for Personenregie. But he gives a visually direct presentation of the story that’s likely to appeal most to first-time Wagnerians. It is rare, for example, to find a modern production of Götterdämmerung that has a boat and a horse (an excellent War Horse-type mechanical beast here) and a proper burning funeral pyre. The video production is good too, with sound and picture resolution that justify the “HD” tag, and video direction that is unfussy but that includes enough close-ups and montage to keep the viewer involved.

The critics were right to complain that this is Wagner-lite, but many viewers are likely to appreciate a less furrow-browed approach to the composer’s longest and most involved music-drama. You’ll get a good overview of Götterdämmerung from this production, and if, after watching it, you’ve developed an interest in the work’s more Freudian undertones – all but absent here – move on to the Boulez/Chéreau Bayreuth version to find out what you’ve been missing.