Disaster at the Met…$16 million Disaster

There has been a fuss in New York City Metropolitan Opera about the new anticipated opera, The Ring which opened on Friday night. A lot of critics have been bashing harshly on the play in their reviews in New York Times and The New Yorker.

The problem wasn’t the music by Richard Wagner, but rather the production. According to Tommasini, the problem occurred in opening of Act II. The 24 movable planks, which can be rearranged in order to show video images, rose up to show “wild rocky plane”in the background. As Ms. Voigt started to climb up the planks, she lost her footing and fell off to the floor. Fortunately, she did not get injured and Mr. Lepage played off as if it was the part of the play.

The problem was not “just in this crucial dramatic moment,” according to Tommasini. Every time someone steps on top of the set, the beams wobbled and creaked. I thought this was an interesting article because this article shows that the production is just as important as the music itself.

Because I want to pursue in the administrative side of the music industry, this story caught my interest.

Anyway, here is the link to the trailer: Wagner’s Dream: Official Trailer

Aside from the business, the music was very nice. The Ring Cycle is a four act opera that is known for its length: the whole performance takes four nights to finish with 15 total hours of playing. There was no way I could listen to the whole 15 hours, but I heard but I heard the first three acts. The first act, Das Rheingold starts very subtle and joyously until a voice of a man joins in. It was mostly a dialogue between this man and the woman, changing back and forth from peaceful to threatening and dissonant. Overall, the first act is musically well made with a lot of emotion.

Act II, where the accident happened on Friday night, is actually a famous piece. Although the original German name is Die Walkure, it is more known for its American name, Ride of the Valkyries. I did not know this song was by Wagner, but I am sure most of us have heard of it at one point. This song is often used on movies and shows. It was surprising that this piece was an opera piece because I have always thought this song was a symphony influenced by marching music. This is because this song is often associated with racing.

The third act, Siegfried, is by far the most calm act. There is not much of change in dynamic which at some point it did become boring for me.

I have to admit, I actually enjoyed The Ring. I would recommend everyone to take a minute (well it might take a little more than a minute) to listen to one of Wagner’s masterpieces.

Here are some links:

24 movable planks at the Met
Act I: Das Rheingold
Act II: Die Walkure
Act III: Siegfried
Act IV: Gotterdammerung 

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