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.