The Ring Cycle: Part One

Just got home from “Das Rheingold” at the Metropolitan Opera. Unusually for the Met, the performance started late. The prospect of a two-and-a-half hour sit without a bathroom break had folks lined up at the loo. The men’s room line was longer than the ladies’, prompting one Texas-twangy woman to take a photo with her camera-phone. “Y’a oughta send that snap to the New York Times,” said her friend. As for the performance itself, I found it more entertaining than I expected; there’s a reason why “Lord of the Rings” and millions of other stories have ripped the “Ring Cycle” off. I also love the look of the production, by Otto Schenk. (This is its last go-round; the Met’s next “Ring Cycle” will be from high-tech wizard Robert Lepage.) The singing was consistently good. Most impressive was the conducting by James Levine. He’s conducted so much Wagner he could do “Rheingold” in his sleep; unlike other conductors of whom the same could be said, he doesn’t. A good beginning.

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