Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Ring Cycle: 2 down, 2 to go

We saw Die Walkure last night, second time for both of us. The last time we saw it we were in orchestra seats, so at the beginning of the third act, the best, best, best, part of the entire opera, the part where the Valkyrie return to their mountain roosting-spot, the part with the kill-the-wabbit music, the part with a stage full of female warriors, we were wrapped up in the action. This particular production, which the Lyric has been staging one opera at a time for the last three years, has a minimalist aesthetic--instead of a mountain, you get a triangular structure lined with flourescent lights. In order to depict the Valkyrie returning from their work escorting fallen heroes to Valhalla, the back of the stage is lined with trampolines and young girls in helmets jump and twist and somersault. But from our seats this time around, back row of the top balcony, all we could see were feet and the clearly marked trampolines on which they were jumping. I tried to put myself in that necessary suspension of disbelief place, tried to feel how really cool this was, but all I could do was look at the big chalked Xs where the jumping feet were landing.

Placido Domingo sang Seigmund, and that was pretty good and I realize it's the kind of thing I'll have to drag out at cocktail parties when I'm feeling backed in corners. But god, Seigmund is such a hard character to take. For almost the entire first act he's singing about how his father, the one-eyed god Wotan, told him he would provide him with a sword when he most needs it, as the spotlight shines on the sword, stuck in the tree growing through the middle of the table he's circling, and as Seiglinde, his sister/soon-to-be-lover keeps gesturing over her shoulder towards it. With four more hours of this opera stretching in front of you, it's really hard not to get impatient.

My God! Enough, already. Seigmund, you stupid hero-man, the goddamn sword is right over your head!

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