Ringing up some High Cultural Experiences

I’ve been watching the New York Metropolitan Opera performance of Richard Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” on PBS.  Apart from Gilbert and Sullivan, I’m not a huge opera fan, but I thought it might be interesting.  Who doesn’t like “The Ride of the Valkyries”?

Unfortunately, I don’t the like the other music in it so far nearly as much as that famous piece.  And because they sing in German, it’s subtitled, and I can’t help but feel that a lot is lost in translation.  The plot of the first part, Rheingold, seems to be that Wotan–who is the King of the Gods, or something–can’t pay his bills.   I know that somewhere down the line, there will be a magical ring that makes people all powerful.  So far, I will say that I think I like it better than a certain other, later story that concerns much the same thing, but it’s still hard to follow.

The performance is amazing, however.  I don’t understand how people manage to sing while suspended in the air or climbing up steep ramps.  It’s quite impressive.  I watched the documentary “Wagner’s Dream,” that they showed earlier in the week about the making of the production.  To be honest, I think I found it more interesting than the actual opera.

2 Comments

    1. I often have a lot of trouble listening to women singing opera-style in English, because I just can’t understand the lyrics. For this, obviously, that wasn’t an issue since it’s in German, but it can be a problem in other operas.

      And, by the way, you haven’t missed all that much. They said in the “making of” film that the themes of the opera are rooted heavily in the folklore and landscapes of Northern Europe. Well, it certainly moves at a glacial pace, I’ll say that much. It seems like they have to say everything three or four times.

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