I am a bit selective when choosing which 'live from the Met' operas to see and their Ring Cycle which started in 2010 did not make the cut. But the broadcasts typically start with 'here's the rest of the season' short reminders/previews and they did look interesting. So when I saw that they were reshowing the four over two weekends, I thought I'd give at least the shortest a go.
(Short is, of course, a relative term. As I think I've said before, it's only a slight exaggeration to say that The Beatles' Can't Buy Me Love takes 131 seconds to cover Wagner's two and a half hours of plot.)
But OMG, it was fabulous! The playing is excellent and the singing is good (particularly Eric Owen's Alberich, the dwarf who renounces love in order to steal the gold that makes the ring which drives the plot of the next fifteen hours of warbling).
However the real star is the production by Robert Lepage which is absolutely stunning. The set apparently involved adding reinforcement to the stage - it's primarily made up of 24 giant beams which can rotate to any position. They move to show the waves on the Rhine, or the mountains of the gods, or the pathway between there and the underworld, or the roof of the caves, or the walls and road to Valhalla. Add some very good effects, costumes and direction, and my only disappointment is that the original recording was not on its opening night, so we did not get to see the reception given to Lepage. Never mind a standing ovation, I'd have been jumping up and down to show my appreciation.
It's still very unlikely that I will see the last two next weekend - Pride and all that - but I am very tempted to see Die Walküre tomorrow. Apparently the set is used to even better effect...
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