Roger Scruton in the Telegraph - Why Wagner still rings true:
The Ring was conceived as a religious festival, with the Oresteia of Aeschylus in mind. It was to unfold a world-embracing myth, through intimate human dramas. Its characters were conceived both as believable people and as symbols of universal powers. By following their fate, the audience would be led by human sympathy towards a vision of redemption, in which human beings stand higher than the gods.
To strip The Ring of its legendary atmosphere and primordial setting - in the manner of most modern productions - is to jeopardise this religious aspect of the story, and to give us only half of what it means.