I've been kicking myself for missing the first installment of Wagner's "Ring" Cycle on the big screen back in October. I thought for sure that "Das Rheingold" would be "encored" this summer as part of the Metropolitan Opera's HD series at theaters around the nation. But I guessed wrong. I didn't realize how big a mistake that was until, as a preview to "Il Trovatore" last month, they showed an extended excerpt and my jaw dropped and I solemnly swore to get to part two of the cycle, "Die Walkure," no matter what.
Aside from the fact that "Walkure" is considered by many to be Wagner's best single piece of music (yeah, it takes 5 1/2 hours and "The Ride of the Valkyries" is just a small part of it - but I listened to all 8 sides of the Philips recording with Karl Bohm last night and it doesn't seem as long as it sounds), the Met, as usual for these national in-theater showings, is trotting out some of their top stars. Bryn Terfel is Wotan; Deborah Voight is singing Brunnhilde; James Levine is conducting.
But more than that, there's the set - a fabulous concoction that the stage crew has dubbed "The Machine." The snippets of "Rheingold" showed it twisting and flipping with the actors, through some kind of theatrical magic, twisting and flipping with it. Some manifestation of that set is reused in "Walkure."
Showtime is 1 p.m. (tape delayed from the live performance on the East Coast or else it would be starting here at 8 a.m.), at the Regal Tikahtnu and Century 16 theaters.
And what IS coming up for the summer "encore" season? Well, first "Walkure" will be reprised at 6:30 p.m. (the consistent encore time) on June 1. Then:
"Madama Butterfly" with Patricia Racette on June 15
"Don Pasquale" with Anna Netrebko on June 22
"Simon Boccanegra" with Placido Domingo on June 29
"La Fille du Regiment" with Natalie Dessay on July 13
"Tosca" with Karita Mattila on July 20
"Don Carlo" with Roberto Alagna on July 27.
See you at the movies.