Thursday, March 26, 2009

Das Rheingold, Met Opera 3/25


I never realized how onerous a task this blog could become. It stares at me from the corner of the room, while I'm just innocently brushing my teeth. Alright, alright. I'll put the ace of cakes on mute.

I've seen many more shows than this since I last posted, but I will start with the Wagner I saw yesterday, and then move on to the whacked out version of Measure for Measure.

I went to the Met and had spectacular seats for Das Rheingold, the 'preface' to the Ring Cycle. I didn't have the time or the budget for a 'Ring' yet, but since Tristan and Isolde last year nearly brought my artistic self to near-fulfillment I needed to sate my late-epic German Romantic opera with slightly overly ambitious tendencies.

I don't really know what to say much about Das Rheingold. It was fabulous, but it wasn't extraordinary, but it didn't have to be it was a preface. I would sum it up as a lord of the rings with better music (much better music) and a bit more obvious anti-semitism. The nationalism bursting at the seams even as the Rhinemaidens sang so sweetly was a bit sickening. Especially since the music was reused by Hitler (i'm pretty sure it was in a Leni Riefenstahl film)...

The production was the kind of production that makes you wonder how else anybody would want to produce it 'realistically'. That was it. Gorgeous, romantic, epic and sumptuously detailed and realistic. The sets seemed to go on for miles and had this epic-nearly starwars-like haze. (do you see how many times I've used the word 'epic' so far?).

the singing, was good of course (it was the Met), but once again it was a preface, it didn't reach the ecstatic unreal heights of Tristan, but then again it didn't have to. It certainly did whet my appetite and I have to give Wagner (and Otto Schenck the director) credit for not making me at all sleepy even at 2 hours and 45 minutes with no running time. Kudos.

Moment of the opera: when Donner (basically thor) starts up a storm, one could not choose more amazing flowing extravagant strings and building chromatic swerves that brought to mind not only a spectacular storm, but a divine one as well. The effects were very cool, but the music, as oft happens in Wagner, overshadows the action. If anything it made me certain that I must find myself a ring-cycle as soon as possible (I won't hold my breath for Bayreuth).


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