Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Ring Cycle: One night down, three to go

My girlfriend and I are doing the Ring cycle at the Lyric Opera this week, something we've been looking forward to for a long, long time. We both like big, romantic music that blasts your ears and pins you to the back of your seat. We both like fairy tales and epic battles. There's nothing like a sleeping princess on a mountain of fire to really grab our attention.

Now that it's here, it feels like a lot of work: four nights of opera, two of which are five hours long.

Last night was Das Rheingold, one of the shortest, which tells the story of how the evil Albreich steals the Rhinemaidens gold in order to fashion a ring that will give him total power over the whole world. (sound familiar? Wagner and Tolkein were both drawing from the same Icelandic story cycle--can't remember it's name. Anyone?) Luckily for the world, the totally NOT evil Wotan (he's just warlike, manipulative, and ammoral) tricks Albreich into making himself vulnerable so that he can snatch it from him (I'm not sure, because our seats were really high up in the balcony, but I think he cuts his finger off. That's one, really effective way to get a ring back. See The Other for another example of this fine strategy.)

Wotan only needs the ring so that he can barter back Freia, his dewy fresh sister-in-law who he used as payment on his new pad, Valhalla. And boy was one of the carpenter giants mad when they took away his new girl-toy for a crummy ring. Luckily, his brother giant killed him, so he didn't have to be mad for too long.

So last night we had a lot of theft, murder, and the exchange of women. Tonight: incest! a flying horse! a maiden warrior! and yes, a stage full of bouncing valkryies.


Blogger Sfrajett said...

Hey Margo, great description of Das Rheingold! I think the saga you are thinking of is the Volsung or Volsunga Saga, which, you know, concerns those naughty incestuous Volsung kids. Volsunga is 13th-century Icelandic fare, but it comes from older Edda stuff. Good times.

12:30 PM  

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