About a week ago (maybe longer? I’m only just recovering my sense of time after the madness of July/August), a commenter by the name of Antonio pointed me towards Re:Classical’s “5 Reasons Why Traditional Opera Kind of Sucks” post. The “About” section of my blog is getting rather ungainly, so I’m trying to start shifting discussions from the About section into blog posts.
This past Monday, the DC Wagner Society hosted a lecture by Asher Fisch at the Goethe Institute about conducting Wagner. This was the first Wagner Society event I’d attended since becoming a member (the membership rate for persons under 28 is ridiculously cheap, by the way!) and the first time I’d been in close contact with the society members.
In addition to the Wagner Society members and board members (and anyone else who managed to book a free ticket in time), it was attended by Washington Post opera critic Anne Midgette and Stefanie Irànyi, a German mezzo-soprano with whom Fisch will be performing a concert of Mahler songs at the University of Maryland tonight (Asher Fisch will be playing piano). Continue reading →
In case you haven’t already read it, there’s a new piece of news about the Lepage Ring on Parterre. Apparently, Monsieur Lepage will be re-staging parts of the Ring Cycle for the 2012-2013 season. Probably a good move. If only Gelb and Lepage could have responded to criticism of the new Ring Cycle with a level explanation that live theatre is always a work in progress and one of the benefits and exciting features of repertory theatre is that directors have the opportunity to improve their work for subsequent performances; that they understand our concerns and hope that we consider attending future performances to see how the piece evolves to more fully realize Lepage’s vision.
This is also a good argument for why a week or two of previews might not be a bad thing for high-stakes opera productions like this. Just a thought.
I must say, I feel a little bit better about this production after seeing Siegfried.
The stakes could not be higher as one of the theater’s finest stage directors teams up with one of the world’s leading opera companies to tackle opera’s most monumental challenge: a new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle-the four-part, 16-hour work that the composer first presented in 1876. Wagner’s Dream takes you deep into the artistic and musical challenges of the epic work. Visionary director Robert Lepage begins a five-year journey to create the most ambitious staging in Metropolitan Opera history, featuring a 90,000-pound set (“The Machine”) designed to realize all of Wagner’s scenic instructions. The film follows heroic singers from rehearsals to performance as they take on many of the most daunting roles in opera. An intimate look at the challenges of live theater and the risks that must be taken, the documentary chronicles the tremendous creativity and unflagging determination behind this daring attempt to realize Wagner’s dream of a perfect Ring.
That is how the publicity materials for Wagner’s Dream summarize the film. It opens with the pretense that opera companies and directors have been engaged in a quest to produce the “perfect” Ring Cycle since the work was composed. Apparently this is the ultimate goal of any new production: to create the perfect, definitive Ring – the Ring Cycle to end all Ring Cycles.