My First Ring

I’m attending my first Ring, beginning last weekend with Das Rheingold, and continuing next month with the second opera in the series and next season with the third and fourth. I’m a relatively casual opera fan, and I’ve never seen the four operas in Wagner’s cycle, or even listened to them more than casually. I did know that the elaborate, mythologically-based plot had similarities to another famous series about a ring, and that Anna Russell did a famous humorous send-up of its plot. It was fascinating last Sunday to read the synopsis and hear the pre-concert talk by conductor James Conlon and then see it all play out on stage — maidens, dwarves, giants, rings, magic helmets. I’ve been a bit disappointed with the Los Angeles Opera in that it’s chosen in recent years to stage revisionist and even experimental versions of standard repertoire works — with modernist or abstract stage and costumes designs. That was true to Madama Butterfly and The Magic Flute earlier this year, and again with the Ring — see here for a pic. It’s not that I’m opposed to the modern or the abstract, it’s just that I’d have preferred to see traditional stagings for my first experiences of these operas — but of course, I have only myself to blame for not having gotten around to seeing them until now.

I’ve always thought it odd how certain brilliant people are nevertheless indifferent, or tone-deaf, to music. Isaac Asimov; Roger Ebert. And apparently Greg Egan, judging from recent posts on the blogosphere.

Current work behind the scenes involves timelines.

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