Sunday, May 3, 2009


Ten acts and 18 hours after it all began this past Monday night, the Ring came to a smashing---literally---end around midnight last night and released into the streets the several thousand of us who had stared, savored, hummed, wept, applauded, sighed, and squirmed our ways through this week's cycle.  A tired but very happy lot were we.

Moh was a trooper.  His first opera at the Met, and he enjoyed himself.  I've
been lucky to have three wonderful opera companions this year---everyone stayed awake (except for me, who nodded off a few times), and only one couple (last night's one row up and two seats over) fidgeted to the point of 'getting looks' from patrons immediately adjacent to them.  No arm wrestling to the floor, though, so decorum was preserved.  Can't say as much for my tush and lower back, which feel exactly as they do when I have been sitting on an airplane way too long.  Ugh.  Delighted from the waist up, however......

The lady in silver/gold/red was more subduded last night----exactly on time, 3 mintes before curtain, she and her (presumed) husband walked down the left center aisle, but last night in a simpler but tight black satin modertaly sequined gown.  

Many take-away's from the week's experience, one of which is that I look forward to doing this again, either here at the Met when the new production premieres in three years, or somwhere else around the globe.  Unparalleled musical/theatrical experience, where 1+1+etc = more than 4.  Wagner was meticulous about bringing plot details from prior operas into the subsequent dramas, but I learned and experienced the Ring in far greater depth in sequence.  Jase had a wonderful way of expressing precisely the feeling in the audience as we saw one another night after night this week:  'collegial altogetherness and ennervating perseverance'.  (How did he know??)

As the four operas unfolded, the action and instigations moved from the realm of the gods to the human sphere, and, as you might expect, the plot gets messier as we humans take over the direction of the course of events.  As it turns out, the rivalries, passions, and betrayals at our level mirror the unraveling Above, until, in the end, we take it upon ourselves to destroy the world in raging fire, and, apres ca, le deluge !  I have always experienced the final scene in Gotterdamerung as a kind of Nostradamian vision of the rise of humanity after a nuclear winter.  Perhaps a stretch, but the dim sunlight penetrating the haze after the fiery destruction of Valhalla and inundation of the earth seemed to me to be precisely that---as half a dozen shaded human figures climb up out of the rubble to gaze skyward as the curtain falls.  Wagner leaves us with a vision of at least a possible way forward from here.

So, now, where do I go from here?  Back to reality, I s'pose.  I've had my head in the Wagnerian clouds for a week, and life's cares and joys wait to be taken up again.  In the meantime, time to go stretch the lower back and get ready for tennis this week, if the rain stops.....

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