I’m in New Jersey this week, accompanying my hyper-Wagnerian father to the opera geek’s equivalent of Woodstock or one of those Phish summer festivals: the Metropolitan Opera’s production of the Ring Cycle, AKA Der Ring des Nibelungen. To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, in some circles, Der Ring des Nibelungen is a far, far better thing than the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby and the Lower Oakland Roller Derby Finals all rolled into one. Some 18 hours of opera spread over four nights.
I’ve already seen Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, in what I think is the final run at the Met of the highly realistic Otto Schenk production. First reactions: James Morris is a little inconsistent as Wotan, and the Brunnhilde, Gabriele Schnaut was a mezzo-mezzo soprano, but Placido Domingo belted out a truly impressive Siegmund—I was going to say “for a man his age,” but really, for a man anyone’s age. Overall, two fantastic operas.
I had some musings on the Ring as the first hypertext opera and on some of the themes that run throughout—connections to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman as well as the debate over gay marriage—but one of the perks of being in the metro area is that I get to see some old friends on the nights off from Wagner, so that’ll have to wait for tomorrow. Expect some of that, and reviews of Siegfried and Gottedamerung later in the week.