UPDATE: According to an official statement from the Met’s press office: “During this afternoon’s performance of Das Rheingold, there was a technical problem with the track and trolley system used to guide the acrobat doubles in the transitions to and from the Nibelheim scene. The performance continued uninterrupted, although without the participation of the acrobats. The beginning of the Nibelheim scene was improvised on the apron of the stage, since the Ring’s scenic Machine was paused by our technical team when the track and trolley system failed. The Machine was reset during the Nibelheim scene, and continued to work smoothly throughout the performance.”
EARLIER: A member of the cher public who braved this afternoon’s performance of Das Rheingold at the Met reports that the Machine jammed halfway through the transition between scenes two and three.
Eventually, a phalanx of stagehands stormed the stage and manually pulled the planks down into an approximation of the “Nibelheim” configuration, as stage managers loudly chattered on their headsets. It’s not clear whether this snafu was the cause of Eric Owens‘[?] offstage speaking voice being sent out over the Saturday broadcast airwaves.
Another cher parterrian writes:
In this afternoon’s performance of Rheingold, as Wotan and Loge were preparing to go down to Nibelheim, the Machine lay there; gray and inert, but lopsided. Eventually a stagehand appeared and pulled down the out-of-place planks, about eight of them, one by one. Where they stayed. W and L exited. No Skybridge. No acrobats. Eventually Alberich and Mime wandered onto the apron stage right, in front of the inert Machine, and started arguing. No gold, no Nibelungen. Eventually the Machine came to life, and some stagehands (not Nibelungen) pushed the glowing forges into position. Later some Nibelungen came with their gold.
At the end of the scene, the Skybridge appeared, but no acrobats. No obvious mishaps for the remainder of the performance
Slight improvements in directing. Alberich did not play pattycakes with the Rheintöchter. Freia did not slide in on her belly.
For those of you keeping score at home, that’s one performance down, 11 to go.