Classical KUSC Blog

May 31, 2010

LA Ring Blog – Installment #8

Filed under: Capparela's Blogarellium,LA Ring Blog — classicalkusc @ 4:54 pm

Der Blog des Nibelungen

— by Rich Capparela (and Wagner friends and foes everywhere)

8. Bratwurst and Nine Noisy Sisters — 5/31/2010

Dining while attending the opera in downtown has never been easy – until now. Sunday night was the first of our three Die Walkuere performances, and the first time during the Ring that food mattered (Rheingold is a scant 2 1/2 hours; Die Walkuere runs twice that). And lo and behold, there was food. Even tables at which to sit with said food. On the Grand Street side of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion there was, I kid you not, a German Biergarten, complete with a large number of long picnic tables where one could sit alongside strangers and dine on pre- or mid-performance bratwurst. If you’ve done any travel in Germany, you know how common this seating system is.

If you’re feeling upscale, you can reserve a terrific meal during the first intermission (a blessed 45 minute break) and dessert during the second (25 minutes). It’s so elegant and civilized that you wish this was the norm, not the exception.

You also have a box meal option during the run of the Ring. Again, you need to reserve in advance. All the info is on the Los Angeles Opera Ring dining page.

It’s all so much better than stuffing one’s pockets with a half dozen power bars.

Oh yes: there was music too. And visuals. It’s been a year since we’ve been able to see Los Angeles Opera’s Die Walkuere and it has changed: a little here, a bit more there. And, as was the case with Rheingold the night before, seeing these productions with knowledge of what is to come only cements one’s opinion of Achim Freyer’s vision, for better or worse, happily, mostly for better. The sudden, exclamatory opening of Act III’s Ride of the Valkyries was so viscerally powerful that one could hear a momentary hall-wide gasp of astonishment. Sure, one also hears quibbles about the director’s abstract, sometimes whimsical concept, but the cohesiveness of his vision and his ultimate faithfulness to the vast majority of the composer’s stage directions is increasingly plain to see. You may not like blue flourescent Nothungs, but at least Siegmund first finds that mighty sword stuck in something or other and, at the right moment, the guy actually pulls that sword out of that something or other.

Speaking of the Benjamin Button of Opera: Placido Domingo’s Siegmund was — Surprise! — the highlight of the performance. How a man of 69 who, only 13 weeks ago, could undergo surgery for removal of a cancerous polyp from his colon, and then sing one of opera’s most daunting roles is a mystery I’ll just leave to Domingo, his maker and the inevitable wretched oil portrait in his attic.

– Rich Capparela

(By the way, if you are attending this coming Thursday’s Siegfried, here’s a reminder that I’ll be moderating post-performance discussions after all three Siegfrieds in the 2nd level Grand Hall. Hope to see you – and hear from you – then).


  1. Perhaps I am labeeling myself a complete philistine, but I do rather like Anna Russell’s version of “The Ring.”

    Comment by Tom Lawrence — June 1, 2010 @ 6:28 pm | Reply

  2. Anna Russell’s is not a version of the Ring but an explanation and of course it’s hilarious. In fact the very ridiculous aspects of the Ring that Russell satirizes are some of what makes Freyer’s production so true to Wagner’s masterpiece. There are ridiculous and whimsical and outlandish aspects to the Ring–Rhinemaidens? Erda? Abbott and Costello type trickery of Alberich (betcha can’t be small too!). For me this is part of the appeal of the Ring, and this variety of mood and meaning mirrors human life. And Freyer gets it! This production is so filled with anomalies, secrets, fleeting moments, and arcane patterns that when the big emotional moments arrive they stand out even more. I can’t wait to spend a few hours with the zany teenager tonight.

    Comment by Jeff Horton — June 3, 2010 @ 7:10 am | Reply

  3. This was my introduction to The Ring and unlike my poor dad who seemed to be under the same sleeping spell as Brunnhilde, I felt like I was at a rock concert. I felt proud of myself for recognizing (for the most part) the leitmotifs – I left with only one question for Freyer: What was the deal with the Dalmation in the top hat? Did I accidently fall asleep and dream that … ?

    Comment by Stacey — June 4, 2010 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  4. We have already seen the entire Ring in the last 2 LA Opera seasons. But if you are going to have a discussion after the performance, then we most definitely will have to show up for the June 13th Siegfried. The tickets were generously donated to us anyway by our good frieds.. And I am truly looking forward to see this incredible production again, and to hear your comments, post performance.

    BTW, we went to the LACMA’s Bing Theater a few weeks ago to see Der Ring des Niebelungen silent movie with live English Translation. It was in 2 parts. The First was “Siegfried” and the second was “Kreimhild’s Revenge”. What was so fascinating about this movie, was not only the expert direction and incredible sets and design, but the story itself. This is not Wagner’s Ring! I am assuming that Fritz Lang took his story from the original legend and that Wagner ‘tweaked’ a bit of it. Siegfried fell in love with Kreimhild NOT Brunhild. Brunhild was the one that helped to orchestrate Siegfried’s demise, and in the Second Movie (“..Revenge”),Kriemhild sets out to avenge her husband’s death. We really enjoyed the both movies and were interested to see a different version of Siegfried’s legend.

    Looking forward to next Sunday and to hear your comments as well!

    Comment by Diana — June 6, 2010 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

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