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Peter Gelb says the Ring will definitely not return, as originally planned, in 2017, and where has La Cieca heard that before? [New York Times]


  • Bianca Castafiore says:

    Adieu, fière machine…

    • Nerva Nelli says:

      Die Zeit is da…

      • Camille says:

        At least Nerva and Bianca agree on SOMETHING!!!!!

        • Bianca Castafiore says:

          Not so fast, Cammyuchen. I’d still see the Lepage Ring with a good cast. It’s not irredeemable if they can improve on some of the staging (i.e. a new ending, please!).

          • whatever says:

            I don’t disagree that the casting could use improvement, and I definitely don’t disagree that it’s not irredeemable (sorry for the cascading negatives!) …

            … BUT …

            … I don’t think casting is the path to redemption here. IMHO the main reason this Ring landed with a thud is that early on Lepage ran out of ideas. By GotterD the Machine was simply the world’s most expensive projection screen. The article refers to Lepage as having, “a reputation for stunning visual theatrics and Cirque du Soleil blockbusters.” Precious little of that talent is in evidence in this Ring. I’m not suggesting Zoomanity — or even Pippin — but for the love of g*d: you were creative enough to concoct the Machine … make it *do* something!!!

          • Camille says:

            Oopsiedaisie—ah plumb ferget•••them Hatfelds & McCoys never agree on nuttin’.

  • La Valkyrietta says:

    Will someone pick up its pieces and make it really work in 2019? A gigantic Notung, as it were? Will there be a Siegfried in real life to get rid of Mime?

  • papopera says:

    The machine was not all that bad, there were spectacular effects and imagery with it.

    Don’t know what that guy in the video means by Lepage being a “French-Canadian” as he states. Yikes. Lepage is a Canadian, not a Frenchman. We are French speaking Canadians, not hyphenated citizens. Merci et bonne nuit tout le monde.

    • DonCarloFanatic says:

      I am continually amazed that millions of dollars and supposedly the best talents can only manage to produce something that is “not all that bad.”

      Yes, there were some good things in the Lepage concept, but the images were far less sophisticated than they should have been. We’ve been doing son et lumiere shows for how long? More is required.

      Much can be tweaked before this production’s next outing, but no one suggests that the machine itself will be any more impressive. And that is a shame.

      Regarding French Canadians, that’s been the standard way of referring to French-speaking Canadians whose dominant cultural affiliation is with France, not the UK, during my entire lifetime, some of which included a good deal of separatist rhetoric. Perhaps you are unaware of how DeGaulle stirred things up there? That was a long time ago, and at least nowadays American sports announcers pronounce Quebec in the French fashion, not the English. And that raises a point: do the rest of Canadians, the ones who are British-oriented or the ones who think of themselves as country types a la the American west pronounce Quebec as “kweh” or “keh”?

      At least we’re not calling people “Scotch” anymore.

    • Camille says:

      Cher pappy—
      No disrespect is intended I am sure.
      How should we damn Yanks refer to the Québécois, then? I have always heard the term “French Canadian” and thought nothing of it other than as a frame to differentiate between the two dominant groups in Canada, the British emigrés and the French. C’est tout! And what about the separist movement? Your motto is “Je me souviens”, n’est-ce pas? What is it that you all remember? La belle France?

      Will you be going to hear that promising Manon with Mdlle. Fiser this monh? If so, I would appreciate hearing about it very much as I had wanted to go but now I cannot.

      Merci beaucoup

      • Camille says:

        Mdlle FiseT, je m’excuse.

      • papopera says:

        Je me souviens (de tout de rien !) is the equivalent of In God We Trust below the border, but what and whose god ? Some people never forgot the victory of the English invaders on the Plains of Abraham, (no, not in Israel) Québec, in 1759. They also remember the treatment of the French minorities as nègres blancs d’Amérique to serve the new Masters. Ben alors, ah ah.
        Non! No Manon for me. J’en ai soupé de Manon & de sa petite table. Why can’t they perform CHÉRUBIN instead.

        • ducadiposa says:

          Fiset got great reviews when she sang Manon recently at the Paris Opera in a production (first cast Dessay) that was roundly denounced by just about everyone [any pictures I saw looked quite dire]. I heard her sing “Adieu notre…” a year or so ago here in Toronto and it was really quite something. Gorgeous tone; great command of dynamics and (I guess it goes without saying) idiomatic French! I think I need to hike it to Montreal. The problem there is…a horrible hall with poor acoustics. It’s very unfortunate as I think Fiset must be one of the best Francophone Manons out there right now. As far as “French-Canadians” go. I think, because so many living in Quebec still idetify so strongly with their own culture, that it’s ok to call them “Fr-Cdn”. Many do identify themselves as such. The situation around this is still quite fraught in Canada. I’ll go out on a limb and say that the majority of Quebecois probably want to remain part of Canada but…hold on very tightly to their French roots. And as far as pronunciation of the province goes… certainly here in Ontario, most now pronounce it more correctly (Kay-beck). When I was growing up, we tended to say “Kwuh-beck” but that has really changed. It certainly something that makes Canada quite unique within North America.

    • Bianca Castafiore says:


      Considering all your derogatory comments about other people, you should be le dernier pour se plaindre de ça.

      However, you do have a point. I once saw a report on the Canadian athlete Perdita Felicien, in which they referred to her as “French-Canadian” based solely on her name — she’s Haitian-Canadian.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Gimbals are kewl!

  • Camille says:

    What happens in Cirque du Soleil, should STAY in Cirque du Soleil.

    Maybe in the intervening years they can figure out ways to knock out some of the problems but it could not certainly be easy to do so. There’s time enough. As long as they get rid of that damn dumm upside down Brünnhilde dolly which spoils the end of Wotan’s Farewell, I’ll not complain too much about the rest. I never saw Walküre in the house, so all the complaint about the first act stage action, so bitterly rued, is lost on me.

    I, for one, was a lot happier with what I saw of the San Francisco Ring.

    • balconydenizen says:

      To my mind, the “damn damn upside down Brünnhilde dolly” is illustrative of all that is wrong with the Lepage Ring. The staging of this scene in the Schenk Ring was touching. The Lepage staging was effect for effect’s sake. Did not support the story at all.

      For the past two seasons, I attended the very last Met performances: Billy Budd and Dialogues des Carmelites. Both are prime examples of how to stage an opera. Maybe this is where Lepage should have found his inspiration--not Las Vegas.

      • m. croche says:

        I haven’t seen the LePage Walkure, but I figured the suspended Brunnhilde is a reference to Wotan’s self-hanging on the Yggdrasil tree, when he learned the secret of the runes, when he died and was reborn. See Odin’s Rune Song from the Hávamál. The visual image is perfectly consistent with, and indeed resonant with, Norse mythology.

        • DonCarloFanatic says:

          That’s a fascinating comparison, but doesn’t it assume that Wotan has more wisdom and more knowledge about the future than these music dramas claim? That he sees the sacrifice of Brunnhilde as more than mere punishment, and knows she has a key role to play? After all, he’s still seeking that knowledge throughout Siegfried.

          Anyway, the visual of a skinny fake Brunnhilde suspended from a rope off some rocks isn’t consistent with the visual of a buxom soprano who has just been kissed to sleep by her grieving dad. It doesn’t look like the same person at all, and it doesn’t follow what he’s been doing or saying. It undercuts the pathos of the farewell scene. I’d be willing to see Wotan deliberately string her up and cite his own self-sacrifice and her need to be reborn, but that’s not what Wagner wrote. Hanging a girl over some rocks with fire around her is not the same as hanging someone from a tree, either.

          • balconydenizen says:

            Was Lepage’s intent to show Brunnhilde suspended? I read somewhere (on Parterre?) that it is supposed to present a bird’s eye view to the audience of Brunnhilde laying on the rocks.

          • La Cieca says:

            I think you are correct, balconydenizen: there are a number of other places especially in “Das Rheingold” where the director plays with point of view with way. (It’s definitely not carried out past “Walkuere” though: the last two opera are 100% static points of view.

          • m. croche says:

            Ah. So much for my pretty theory…

          • m. croche says:

            No, it’s not precisely what Wagner specified, but it strikes me as a fresh, yet suitably archaic, image for the scene. The inverted hanging was not just a fate reserved for Odin, but was apparently common form of execution among the old Norse. Brunnhilde, like Odin on the Yggdrasil tree, undergoes a sort of resurrection, so the stage pictures seems meet. I don’t know that it’s necessary to believe that Wotan has foreknowledge of Brunnhilde’s role in the world’s redemption for him to arrange her sleep as a symbolic form of death. Though living, she is forever dead to him. But it’s also possible that Wotan subconsciously intuits the important role Brunnhilde will play in the world’s redemption.

            If LePage didn’t have this idea in mind when staging Brunnhilde’s sleep (see balcony’s and La Cieca’s comments above), he should have!

        • Batty Masetto says:

          Croche, don’t know if you’ve seen it, but that bit of myth (along with a whole lot of other stuff) plays an important role in Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods.”

          • m. croche says:

            I didn’t know that, Batty. Science fiction -- and to a lesser extent fantasy -- is The Spouse’s bailiwick. I’ll pass on the recommendation to him. Should he ever be shanghaied into attending some part of the Ring, he’ll at least have something to relate to.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        But when Gelb goes to Las Vegas he’s in heaven because they have so many all-you-can-eat places and none of that damn opera music playing.

    • Camille says:

      Oh, I plumb fergot about that eyeball. It goes, too.

      While they are at it—fix the planks so Grimgerde’s doesn’t fly off into outer space and the swimming pool needs to be drained, cleaned, and refitted so as not to scare poor Miss Oropesa half to death. Not to mention the Brünnhilde’s entrance so she doesn’t trip. That was horrifying. And even more horrifying it wasn’t changed for Miss Voigt.

      That’ll do ‘er.
      For now.

      • La Cieca says:

        Actually, the entrance was changed after the preliminary run of Walkuere, i.e., when the work was performed at part of the spring 2012 Ring cycle.

  • La Valkyrietta says:

    Storing that huge machiine for six or more years can’t be inexpensive. Perhaps they could sell it to a casino in Nevada, where it will be more in place, to improve some shows there.

    • luvtennis says:

      Interestingly, I just saw Ka and feel it to be the weakest of the CduS shows that I have seen. Mystere was the best because the staging allowed more room for the individual acrobatic performances and de-emphasized the silly theatrics.

  • Signor Bruschino says:

    It would be great for the Times to ask (and Gelb attempt to answer) how different the production ended up being, after the trailer made it seem to be something completely different (main question to answer- did LePage’s team ‘mis-represent’ what was being created up in Quebec to the Met team?)

    Here is the trailer to refresh everyone’s memory

    • OpinionatedNeophyte says:

      This was my thought exactly. That Gelb et al had been seduced by the models and the virtual reality representations of the machine as a flowing, seamless, infinitely malleable object that could produce any stage effect needed. And indeed, that model moves so quickly and looks so enticing. But that actual mechanics of such a thing was beyond the capabilities of LePage to construct. I fear we needed military level technology to get the Machine to actually function the way it looks to function in the models. The question is, why didn’t anyone ask “wait…can that be realized?” And if they did ask, why did they fall for it when Lepage said….yes?

      For the record both “O” and “Ka” the cirque shows have a lot to teach LePage about making a magical stage, those shows are amazing.

      • armerjacquino says:

        ON, this is a question I’ve wanted to know the answer to for a long time- precisely who is responsible for the machine not working? It really has to boil down to a bad design, a bad build, or both. Lepage may have been sold just as much of a pup as everyone else.

      • irontongue says:

        OpinionatedNeophyte, apparently you are unaware that Lepage DIRECTED KA. Which is kind of a terrible and boring show. I walked out. One of my companions stuck it….but slept through about half of it.

        • scifisci says:

          This comment strikes upon something i’ve always found in every single lepage directed show i’ve seen from the ring to ka, the nightingale, and the damnation of faust….all his stuff is just BORING. And epically so. There is simply never any “there” there. I know this is perhaps only a minority opinion since others have enjoyed his work, but I simply have never gotten him.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Well, I guess you never saw his double bill of Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung, or the Seven Streams of the River Ota (theater, not opera), which were fantastic. And I heard good things about his Nightingale, although I didn’t see it myself.

          • irontongue says:

            I have not seen the Bluebeard/Erwartung double, it’s true. However, in addition to KA, I’ve seen his Rake’s Progress, which is full of distracting tricks that pull you out of the story and characters.

          • Krunoslav says:

            Have to say I thought Lepage’s NIGHTINGALE production as seen at BAM was superb- contributing further to my disappointment with the RING.

          • kashania says:

            I’ve seen both Lepage’s Bluebeard/Erwarthung and The Nightingale and have praised them both here before (especially the former). I didn’t love his Damnation du Faust but still thought it did an effective job of staging a problematic piece (problematic as an opera).

            But I also want to put in a word for Lepage’s follow-up to the Ring, his production of The Tempest at the Met. I’m halfway through watching the PBS broadcast and I quite like his work here.

            Of course, none of his other successes redeems his Ring but he has done very fine work in the past, and should not be dismissed as just that Cirque du Soleil Guy.

  • Will says:

    papopera says:
    The machine was not all that bad, there were spectacular effects and imagery with it.

    I agree with what papopera says and ask: Would everybody hate The Machine as much if it had worked as it was originally announced to operate, were silent instead of sounding like a bad NYC apartment building steam heat system, operated consistently without recurring breakdowns, didn’t inspire fear and cause accidents and fear of worse in the cast, and — most importantly — had contained a production by a director who had an actual vision of what the Ring might mean for the early 21st century and knew how to realize that vision with his cast in a safe manner that didn’t regard them as of secondary importance to the hardware?

    Some of the transitions and visual imagery really were quite splendid. If The Machine is to return with true success, its mechanical failures have to be rectified and M. Lepage has to rethink his concept in depth and redirect large portions of it, hopefully in collaboration with someone who knows the four operas intimately and has the stage experience (not just showmanship) that Lepage obviously lacks.

  • OperaTeen says:

    I wonder if the Machine will go straight to steel containers and be a repressed memory until the next revival, or if they’ll take it out in a few years and try to develop it a little more. It could certainly use mechanical improvement, but I wonder if they’ll try to fix everything before the next revival. If they do, then maybe the next Ring won’t be so disappointing.

  • kashania says:


    “I would not bet against it being in ’18-19.”

    “I don’t want you to think we’re not going to bring it back…because we are.”

  • Don_Dano says:

    Is there also a problem with the MET’s scheduling of the four operas. This August, I’ll see the Ring over six nights in Seattle which is the same as it was in San Francisco a few years ago. Maybe, I didn’t look at the MET’ schedule closely enough, but I seem to recall thinking the Ring Cycles (other than the matinee Cycle of course), had extra off-nights. In other words, I’d have needed more than six nights to see the entire MET Ring Cycle this year.

    • justanothertenor says:

      I’m also going to Seattle. Which cycle are you attending?

      • reedroom says:

        Any Parterriani coming to the Seattle Ring please come to the orchestra rail and say hello! I will be playing all three cycles (2nd bassoon this year).

      • Don_Dano says:

        Cycle 1. I’ve never been to Seattle so last weekend, I bought a tour book to start to figure out what to do with my days.

        • pasavant says:

          I am going to the first cycle in Seattle. Is there anything to see there besides the fish market?

          • peter says:

            Spoken like a true New Yorker.

          • m. croche says:

            Seattle and its environs are effin’ gorgeous. But if it’s urban culture that you’re interested in, check out the Experience Music Project. There’s also the Cthulhu Chihuly Museum, if you enjoy brightly-colored tentacles.

          • irontongue says:

            Art Museum. Science Museum (on the fairgrounds walking distance from the opera house). Boeing Museum of Flight.

          • CruzSF says:

            The Underground City tour is interesting and fun, too. Might be overpriced at this point, but you’ll be able to see odd things from the frontier days.

          • oedipe says:

            I would back the Dale Chihuly Glass Garden recommendation, he is a unique and spectacular artist.

          • Buster says:

            The Public Library.

          • bluecabochon says:

            Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island. Beautiful place, and the ride is glorious, if windy.

        • derschatzgabber says:

          As m.croche says, the Northwest scenery is gorgeous. August is usually the best month of the year for weather -- blue skies and temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s. I recommend getting out on the water for a view of Seattle and (if you are lucky) Mt. Rainier. You can take one of the State ferries across Puget Sound or a harbor tour. My favorite harbor tour includes a trip through the Ballard locks, which connect Puget Sound to Lake Union.

          The Pike Street Market is much more touristy than it was during my childhood in Seattle, but it is still much better than Fishermens’ Wharf in San Francisco (my current home). I won’t take visitors to the wharf, but I will take friends to the Pike Market. There are still vendors of local produce and seafood, mostly at the southern end of the market. The northern end is mostly given over to tourist trinkets and local artists. The seafood stall that features young men tossing whole salmon to each other is a bit hokey, but some of those young men are very easy on the eye.

          If you are used to museums in New York, San Francisco, and LA, then you probably can skip the downtown Seattle Art Museum. If you like Asian Art, then it’s probably worth your time to visit the Asian collection in the Seattle Art Museum’s original building, located in Volunteer Park. Volunteer Park is on Capitol Hill, where most of the gay bars are located.

          If you are interested in Northwest Native American culture, visit the Burke Museum on the campus of the University of Washington.

          If you are interested in Seattle history, the Museum of History and Industry has a new home on the south shore of Lake Union. It’s accessible from downtown by trolley.

          I also like the Museum of Flight (commonly referred to as the Boeing Museum). It’s located at Boeing Field, the airport between Sea Tac and downtown. The collection includes a Boeing 707 that served as Air Force One during Kennedy’s time in office.

          On the days after Walkure or Siegfried, you can also take a high speed boat trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island. Trips leave early in the morning. You get 4 or 5 hours in Victoria before the trip home in the evening.

          If you are in Seattle on a Sunday evening, St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral on Capitol Hill has compline service (I think at 9:30 pm -- you can google the Cathedral’s website). The half-hour service features a small all male choir that usually sings sacred music from the Renaissance. I am not religious, but I enjoy the service as music. Most Sunday evenings, the service is followed by an organ recital.

          P.S. I will also be attending the first cycle.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            When I visited Victoria, BC, I enjoyed it very much. It’s a very pretty place, but on Friday and Sat. nights, the place was overrun by American college brats taking the ferry to party (since the drinking age in Canada is lower). Have not been to Seattle yet, only Vancouver and Portland.

          • Batty Masetto says:

            Hey, I love those guys flinging those giant fish around! But that’s ‘cuz I got no taste.

            Several years ago we enjoyed the aquarium too, though it wasn’t a patch on the wonder of the world(TM) in Monterey.

            Good food city too, as long as you look in the right places. Things change fast though -- all my favorite places from my previous visit were gone when we went back a year ago.

          • pasavant says:

            Thanks for the info.

        • derschatzgabber says:

          P.S. I also recommend the downtown public library.

          It was designed by Rem Koolhass. Try to take a docent tour to learn about the many unique features of its design.

        • DonCarloFanatic says:

          There are all those Ring symposia during the days, too. I found them very illuminating during the San Francisco Ring. There’s even a backstage tour.

        • justanothertenor says:

          I’ll also be at Cycle I!

    • Bianca Castafiore says:

      Is a Ring over 6 nights real tough on the orchestra, performers and audience?

      The Ring at the Met just offered now was over 8 nights — at least cycle 2 was, which I attended. It went from Thursday to Thursday.

      • derschatzgabber says:

        A ring over 6 nights is the way Wagner did it at the first Bayreuth Festivals. And I am pretty sure it’s still the way Bayreuth presents the Ring. I can’t speak from the perspective of performers or the orchestra, but I think it’s the best arrangement for the audience. It keeps the momentum of the story going better.

        • reedroom says:

          Bianca: Though the operas are quite taxing for the orchestra (remember that unlike the singers, we play every note from start to finish), the performance weeks are not bad--4 performances over a 6 day stretch is doable--not that I’d presume to speak for my string-playing colleagues--they really get punished! But if you aren’t doing much else that week, there is plenty of time to recover.

          The rehearsals on the other hand, when we have seven or eight services per week, THAT’S tough.

          • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

            I often wonder how string players don’t walk out of the opera house with their right hands moving in fast spasms from left to right after playing 6 hours of tremolandi, tricky tuplets, and sweeping apeggio figurations. Except for the anvils, it must be exhausting to play the Ring.

        • La Cieca says:

          Actually, the first Ring was done in a five-day span: August 13, 14, 16, and 17, 1876.

          The 1951 Ring at the first postwar Festival also followed a five-day schedule, though with the dark night inserted differently: July 31, August 1, 2, and 4.

          Bayreuth switched to a six-day Ring with the premiere of Wieland Wagner’s 1965 production. In her autobiography, Birgit Nilsson takes credit for convincing Wieland to try this innovation.

          An eight-day Ring is pretty idiotic unless you have some absolutely phenomenal programming on the “dark” nights, and it’s fair to say that the Met’s repertoire this past spring didn’t rise to that level. I still wonder who that stretched-out schedule was for. Terfel? Voigt? Levine?

          • derschatzgabber says:

            Wow! Somehow I have always missed that the first Rings were done in 5 days, That just seems cruel to whoever is singing Siegfried and to the orchestra (Although Rheingold and Walkure on consecutive days must be rough on the singer playing Wotan).

            The last time Lotfi Mansouri presented the Ring in SF, he managed to stage 4 cycles in about 3 weeks, by overlapping the cycles. Rheingold 1,Walkure 1, Rheingold 2, Siegfried 1, Walkure 2, etc. on consecutive nights. It was insane. I have never heard so many bloopers from the brass section of the SF Opera orchestra. I don’t blame the musicians. In the name of penny pinching they were asked to do the impossible.

          • Hoffmann says:

            One of the many reasons I am not going to Opera Australia’s Ring in Melbourne this year in November/December is because it is over 10 DAYS!!!!! Besides the fact that it was more expensive than seeing the Ring at the Met and that there are parts of the Ring that really don’t interest me…

          • DharmaBray says:

            Hoffmann, agree about the ludicrous length visitors are made to stay in Melbourne. It’s what comes of funding from government tourism agencies and attempts to increase visitor spending on accom.etc.

      • marshiemarkII says:

        Schatzie and Bianchissssssima, 6 days, exactly as Bayreuth is how it was done at the Met for the first time ever in 1989,and then 1990 and 1997. Don’t know if other years, but certainly in those, yes at the huge Met!

        • derschatzgabber says:

          In my experience, all of the Seattle, San Francisco, and LA Rings have been done in 6 days. It’s surprising that the MET didn’t do a 6 day Ring until 1989. Does anyone know how many days Anton Seidl’s Rings were spread over when the MET first did the Ring?

          • Krunoslav says:

            Varying lengths- first time 8 days, second seven days, third in Philly — *4* days!

            Das Rheingold {10} Ring Cycle [3]
            Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 03/26/1889

            Die Walk?re {32} Ring Cycle [3]
            Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 03/27/1889

            Siegfried {18} Ring Cycle [3]
            Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 03/28/1889

            G?tterd?mmerung {12} Ring Cycle [3]
            Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 03/29/1889

            Emil Fischer sang all 4 nights: Wotan/Wanderer/Hagen!

            Lilli Lehmann sang Sieglinde opposite her husband Paul Kallsisch and the SIEGFRIED and GOETTEDAEMMERUNG Brunis. The WALKUERE one was a debutant I’ve never heard of, Anna Marie Bauman-Triloff ( she only sang one more Met performance) . Max Alvary sang Loge and the 2 Siegfrieds. Sophie Traubmann also sang every night: Woglinde/Helmwige/Woodbird/Woginde.

            The company’s 5th RING was in Boston and in that 4 day span (4/9-12/1889) Lilli Lehmann sang all the Brunis (with Felicie Kaschowska as Sieglinde, plus both Wellgundes) --though in those days they cut the Bruni/Waltraute scene!!!

            The Met’s first uncut RING (1899) took 13 days! Marie Brema sang the RHENGOLD Fricka and the WALKUERE Bruni; Lehmann the subsequent Brunis.

            The first Met 6 day cycle with just one Bruni was in Chicago in 1902, with Milka Ternina. Johanna Gadski did it again in 1909. So Hildegard Behrens had two predecessors in this regard.

            Thereafter, until the Schenk RING, the cycles were more spread out, probably for reasons connected to subscribers’ demands and radio schedules.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Very interesting history Krunissssimo! Question what does it mean “Met in Chicago” does that mean Met on Tour? and did Gadski also did it in Chicago in 1909. It’s an interesting history so I won’t make the same broad assertion, although if it was not “in house” it might not qualify :-)
            I just remember Charlie Riecker (and Francis Robinson at a party at Lennhoff’s boyfriend’s restaurant on 63rd st, Bruno’s I think it was called?)) saying back in 1989, “first time ever at the Met”

          • Krunoslav says:

            Ternina’s feat was with the Met on tour in Chicago; but Gadski’s was indeed in NY at the Old Met (Behrens’ was of course the first at the New Met) so perhaps Riecker and Robinson were in their cups.

          • derschatzgabber says:

            Thanks for the detailed response Krunoslav. Even with the cuts that were common in the first MET cycles, a four day Ring sounds brutal for the singers and orchestra.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Yes, I seemed to recall that the Ring was used to be presented over 5 days. Thanks all for clarifying that. Four days seems to be rather brutal for all parties involved.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Kruno, I am surprised that you didn’t pick on the big booboo that I made talking about Francis Robinson in 1989, when ol’ Francis had died in 1980!!!! for the life of me now I cannot recall who was at the party, who was a big chronicler, Opera News/Guild-related, and old timer, very old, white haired and who died shortly after. His word was as much a seal of approval as Francis’, and I just can’t remember who it was. Charlie is of course separate, he was a good friend, and I knew him and his wife for a long time. I hope one day I remember who was the person at Bruno’s. At the table was Behrens, Zarin Mehta, this person talking about Met history with great authority, and others. It was after a broadcast of Siegfried either in 1988 or 1989. Ugggh memory banks are getting cloudy……

  • justanothertenor says:

    I have been wondering for a while about the “failure: of the LePage Ring. Having seen the entire version of this Ring, I think it is a little harsh to call it a complete failure. True, it is not particularly engaging, it is very obvious that the singers were not directed, that the production was focused on the Machine and its projections.
    Despite all of these failings, I found nothing offensive abut the production itself, and I would return to see it if a great cast appeared.
    The 2017 Ring was supposed to feature Goerke’s Brunhilde. I would have seriously considered seeing that, or Stemme’s, especially if they had been paired with Greer Grimsley as Wotan, Blythe as Fricka, a good Sieglinde (Pieczonka?), Siegfried (Hunter Morris is serviceable, Cleveman showed good promise on his debut night), etc. The casts are out there, and other houses seem to be able to book them.
    I think, however, that the biggest failing of the LePage production is that it was presented 4 MONTHS after the last outing of the Schenk production, which, like it or not, wad beloved by the NY audience.
    The most obvious and immediate difference in approach between the two productions was their Sets (as Gelb publicized it over and over). The Schenk presented grandiose sets of varying textures, colors and sizes, whereas LePage required you to look at the same set for 20 hours -- in different configurations, but it is just one set. And that is a long time to be looking at the same thing, especially when there is not much action going on onstage (direction? what direction?)
    In addition to that, Wagner is not to everyone’s taste. Requiring your audience to sit through 5+ hours of music for three operas, especially when you consider the “festival” price ticket which is twice the amount of a regular ticket, you are limiting your base of opera goers who will attend.
    The fact that this last Ring Cycle was empty and that the Met had to discount its tickets is not surprising. NY has been flooded with Ring performances for five years now, and I think the audience is tapped out. Here is a list of performances:

    2007-2008 Season
    6 Walküre (Jan/Feb 2008)

    Spring 2009
    3 Cycles (Mar/Apr/May 2009)
    2 Rheingolds (Mar/Apr 2009)
    1 Walküre (Apr 2009)

    2010-2011 Season
    8 Rheingolds (Sep/Oct 2010, Mar/Apr 2011)
    7 Walküre (Apr/May 2011)

    2011-2012 Season
    3 Siegfried (Oct/Nov 2011)
    5 Götterdämmerung (Jan/Feb 2012)

    Spring 2012
    3 Cycles (Apr/May 2012)

    Spring 2013
    3 Cycles (Apr/May 2013)

    When you compare that to previous outings of the Ring, you realize the number of performances were just over the top. It was poorly planned.

    I think the Machine will be greeted with much more welcoming arms when it returns, maybe in 2018 or 2019. NYers just need a little break from the incessant talk of the Machine.

    • justanothertenor says:

      Sorry, not 4 MONTHS but 16 months. I had a Math slip up there.

    • kashania says:

      I don’t think it’s a complete failure either. And most critics recognise the few spectacular visual moments separated by long stretches of direction-less story-telling. But the sheer sums of money spent on the Machine (and on re-enforcing the stage to withstand its weight) and the fact that it was the first new Ring at the Met in over 20 years raised expectations to a very high level. This production isn’t good enough to meet low expectations let alone the very high ones that greeted it.

      • derschatzgabber says:

        I think the production team bears a lot of blame for over inflating expectations. Do you remember the first video simulations of the machine that the Met released before the machine was actually finished? Those little video clips looked spectacular. But I remember thinking that there was no way those planks would ever move as fast as they did in the video preview, if a singer was standing on (or even near) them. It would have been insanely dangerous.

        • LittleMasterMiles says:

          I think is the crucial point: LePage seems to have planned his Ring for a Machine that could move dramatically faster (say, at the speed attained only in the very exciting moment at the end of the Norn scene when the thread breaks and the planks really go wild), and—more importantly—a cast that could do the kinds of things he asks of his usual acrobatic artists.

          It seems clear to me, for example, that the original plan for the end of Walküre was to have involved the soprano taking her position on the rock and then rotating into the upside-down position. A lot of sopranos (including Voigt) couldn’t or wouldn’t do that, but some surely would—not that this should determine casting, but it doesn’t exactly require superhuman strength to hang in a harness.

    • papopera says:

      What did they do with the Schenk production, is it stored somewhere, sold, or simply destroyed ??

      • justanothertenor says:

        I heard (and this is hearsay) from someone who was involved both in the last Schenk cycles and in the new LePage ones that Maestro Levine would not allow them to throw them out and that they are in storage somewhere….

  • Krunoslav says:

    In other HD-related news:

    Next, perhaps, Puccini’s TAMPA?

  • DermotMalcolm says:

    The current Met Ring was such a disaster--most notably Lepage’s Machine and Voigt’s Brunnhilde--that another problem may have been overlooked.
    I refer to the effect on the hall’s acoustics of the 2010 construction project under the Met stage that was necessitated by the weight of the Machine. If there had not been this additional support, the stage would have collapsed. The support is made of an extensive network of steel beams.
    The additional construction materials are now a permanent part fo the Met’s architecture.
    I wonder what effect the new support has had on the delicate balance that is a hall’s acoustics.
    Acoustics is a mixture of art and science, intuition and inventiveness. The Met’s acoustics were designed by an American engineer, Cyril Harris, and a Danish engineer, Vilhelm Jordan. The Met opened in 1966. Their work appears to have served the music and the Met’s musicians and audience well in the decades since. Harris died in 2011 at the age of 93.
    But in reference to the Met’s new stage support: recall what happened to Carnegie Hall’s acoustics after its 1986 renovation. For ten years there were complaints about a dead sound, and in fact a pile of cement was discovered in 1996 and removed, much improving the sound.
    Have there been any reports of changed acoustics because of the steel support structure added under the Met’s stage in 2010?

    • La Cieca says:

      No, but thanks for worrying.

    • LittleMasterMiles says:

      No, the added support was not under the stage itself, but under the wings. That wouldn’t affect the acoustic nearly as much as the guy behind last week at DIALOGUES me who spent the entire performance mansplaining the opera to his long-suffering wife.

  • The_Kid says:

    Way, WAY off-topic, but couldn’t help posting this. Those of us who are in NYC, please consider attending this vigil. Let us take the city back in the name of justice and humanity.

    “Saturday, May 18, 2013
    11:55pm in EDT

    Grays Papaya -- 6th Avenue and 8th Street

    Bring candles and friends tonight to remember those who have suffered from hate violence in the LGBT community in New York and nationally. Matthew Shepard was murdered in Wyoming 14 years ago and hate still continues to this day against LGBT people in our city.

    This will be at outside of Gray’s Papaya where a gay man was murdered last night at 6th Avenue and 8th Street in the heart of Greenwich Village.”

    Let the wicked who harm the innocent be cursed forever.

    • derschatzgabber says:

      Hi the Kid, sorry I couldn’t be physically in New York for the vigil. But I was there in spirit. I read the news reports of the vicious murder of the gay man. It is so depressing to realize that this kind of hate crime still can happen in Greenwich Village. It is comforting to know that people in New York are making a statement in response to this senseless violence.

  • Byrnham Woode says:

    The 6 day standard for a RING was indeed promulgated largely at Bayreuth in the late ’50s and early ’60s, and along with Nilsson, was heartily advocated by Hans Hotter. I imagine other German opera houses were quick to adopt such a schedule.

    At Bayreuth, and perhaps elsewhere, it is common to have instrumentalists change desks during the performance, or to have a night off. THe Bayreuth orchestra numbers around 150, and no Wagner score requires much more than 100 people, if that. So the first trumpet and/or lead violinist might only have to play the long first act of GOTTERDAMMERUNG.

    Wotan has a tough assignment if RHEINGOLD and WALKURE are two nights in a row, though there are resting points. He isn’t in the first act of WALKURE and has some substantial time off after his big act two monologue. The RHEINGOLD role has lots of short passages and onstge time, but only a couple of really “big sings”. He needs that night off before SIEGFRIED, though.

    The need to rest the soprano and tenor is equally obvious.

  • alejandro says:

    I would happily sit through more Ring cycles if the production had been good and if there were singers worth going to hear in said production.

    The LePage Ring was my first live Ring (I saw some of the Chereau/Boulez and the Levine/Schenk on DVD . . . and I have the Solti recording) and it was a testament to Wagner’s music that I was able to be extremely moved by all four operas despite some questionable directorial choices (Siegfried and the end of Gotterdammerung had to be some of the most embarrassingly terrible direction I have ever seen) and uneven singing. And while I am not a good judge of conductors, I really didn’t like Luisi’s take on the operas.

  • LittleMasterMiles says:

    Inflicitously titled, perhaps, the The Colón Ring certainly looks intersting (and it apparently follows in the Met’s tradition of including a documentary/apologia explaining how it all went wrong).‘colón-ring’-released-for-wagner’s-bicentenary