Wagner’s Das Rheingold
My pity for the poor souls who haven’t allowed The Ring Cycle to settle in their bones. Yet there were days where I only had to hear someone say “Wagnerian opera” to respond by a sneer.
Waiting a good decade I discovered Wagner only in my 30s. The only qualifier I add is that you must see it with English subtitles and must prepare yourself with study. But watching the New York Metropolitan Opera’s simulcast of Rheingold in the Chauvel Cinema on Sunday, the first of the four Ring operas, I was struck how, with familiarity, this epic becomes somehow compact, light – think of the music of Loge, god of fire –and ever ironic. A young girl, watching with her mother in New York, told a friend of ours The Ring was her comic strip. It is not ponderous or pompous or “heavy” at all.
It’s power, greed, family, the struggle and compromises of life. Wotan, king of the gods, admits to terrible forebodings as his clan of deities take possession of Valhalla in the last glorious scene.
Die Walkure, the second in The Ring, is broadcast from the Bayreuth Festival February 11, 12, 13 and 16 at Palace Theatres in Australia. Now this is a gift – performances from the world’s greatest operas coming to our cinema screens.
Verdi’s Don Carlo ranks with The Ring (see comments in opera section) and comes from The Met to our cinemas January 8 and 9.
One final educative comment. At this standard opera can claim to be, as Wagner argued, the all inclusive, most elevated of art forms.
Don’t believe me? Haven’t seen them? Your loss, kiddo. Trust Carr on this one.