That ain’t been popular since aught six, dagnab it

First word on Francesca Zambello‘s “American iconography” production of Der Ring des Nibelungen sounds moderately dire. Our top secret mole The Concerned Wagnerian reports from somewhere in the vicinity of the Washington National Opera:

“Alberich is panning for gold in a western getup. The Rhinemaidens reveal their gold as a large quilt. Yes, a quilt. As in ‘this gold is nice; we should quilt with it.’ They frolic with the forbidden quilt until Alberich snatches it away. Wotan is discovered — no, not as Horace Tabor — but rather as Jay Gatsby, reclining on lawn furniture. Donner sports “tennis, anyone” attire and an architect’s T square in lieu of hammer. Froh in white riding jodphurs. Fafner and Fasolt have been nicknamed by the cast “The Super Mario Brothers,” because that’s just what they look like, denim overalls and oversized blue engineer caps. Oh, and they are lowered onto the stage on a giant steel girder. Definitely the biggest laugh in the show. Nibelheim is actually quite well done until Alberich turns into remote controlled toy car covered in a rubber toad outfit.”

TCW promises a report on the audience’s reaction after the dress rehearsal on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, on our shores, Madame Vera Galupe-Borszkh spins her favorite stacks of wax on Unnatural Acts of Opera.


14 Responses to “That ain’t been popular since aught six, dagnab it”

  1. rysanekfreak Says:

    This “Ring” just sounds too festive for words. I’m sure liquor sales will be quite brisk during the intermissions.

  2. Baritenor Says:

    Okay….that sounds terrible. But it’s not as bad as about every ring that’s currently playing in Europe. Or, for that matter, the Abridged “Johnathan Dove” Ring cycle that played in Long Beach in January. The Production was by Graham Vick, and it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen him do:
    Message. In fact, I think that I have never seen an uglier production. I didn’t know what was going on in Vick’s head half of the time. Fricka and Wotan were Bald, Brunhildle looked like a zombie in SIEGFRIED, and The Giants (played by the Twin Baritones from Peter Seller’s DON GIOVANNI, no less. Yes, that’s right. BARITONES as The Giants!) were dressed up with ridiculous puppets aside them. Singing, by the way, was either undpar or averadge. The Alberich, Siegmund, Sieglinde, Mime and especially the Brunnhilde were quite good, The Siegfried, Erda and Fricka fair, and the Wotan and the “Basses” pretty darn bad. The Reduced orchestrations worked, but I left the evening missing what wasn’t there.

  3. How about the last ENO ring. Wotan emerging from the Shower in Rheingold , where most of the action took place in the bathroom of a high rise appartment. And the pole dancing Rheintochter.

    Brunnhilde being stripped to her bra and briefs by Wotan’s leather clad heavies in the last act of Walkure. At least jane eaglen wasn’t playing the role………

  4. celticpriestess Says:

    Let me get this straight…the Rheingold is a *quilt?* I’m halfway decent with a needle, but how you make a ring out of a quilt is beyond me! Of course, perhaps this means that I could make a fortune from a few hours of work at the sewing machine! As a certain Mr. Stengel used to say, “Amazin’!”

  5. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Celticpriestess, that’s your problem. It must be hand-sewn !!!

  6. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    when it comes to rings i think the met one (which i have only seen on dvd … and virtually fell asleep) is just about the biggest yawn i can think of. admittedly zambellos concept sounds bizarre but at least it stimulates the mind in one way or another (that doesnt mean that it will fully work). oops i know i know it is something ur not supposed to use when going to the opera 😉

    i have seen pretty bad modern productions and pretty bad traditional productions – but if u ask me i would prefer (moderate) modern anytime. otherwise id rather go to a museum. the productions that moved me most were always more or less from a modern angle.

    shame i missed the eno ring – apparently siegmund pulled the sword out of sieglindes womb…

  7. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    on a slightly different note? did anyone (i suppose actually everyone!) hear last weeks met broadcast? forza with debbie… i dont know if my ears were wrongly tuned but i think it was absoulutely dreadful. shame cos i heard voigt as a heavenly kaiserin in frosch a couple of years back – but that leonora was, to put it mildly, an effort without success. i guess everyone can put their foot wrong every now and then…

  8. Baritenor Says:

    Yeah, we all heard it. There’s a Review on My blog if you want to read it: http://www.baritenorreviews.blogspot.

  9. rysanekfreak Says:

    celtic princess,

    I live in the South. All I hear about are “ring quilts.” When a gal gets married, some grandma or great-aunt always makes her a ring quilt. I suppose most of “Gotterdammerung” will involve the Norns quilting one for Brunhilde’s wedding trouseau.

  10. Opera Enthusiast Says:

    Now, let me get this straight (hate that word), Ms. Z is doing a RING for the Welsh National Opera at the same time she’s doing one for the Washington National Opera??

    One is lucky to create a RING worth of praise once in a lifetime. But two simultaneously is almost impossible or conceit beyond belief.

  11. Baritenor Says:

    No…I’m pretty sure Ms. Z is only doin the Washington Ring.

  12. I guess I’m way behind on things — I’m just excited that I’ll actually get to see Rheingold in DC.

  13. Baritenor Says:

    And isn’t Robert Hale the Wotan? He’s always good.

  14. JATM2063 Says:

    Anyone get an update on how it all went? Cieca said she’d let us know after the final dress. I wonder…..It got an okay review on Verizon’s internet news page.

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