Last night the wife and I attended the HGO's production of Wagner's Gotterdammerung (trans: kitten play-time). It's about the apocalypse at the end of the world, and ends with the death of all gods. It lasted five and a half hours and featured two intermissions.
I have been to only two other operas in my life; both were relatively obscure Baroque works that featured little in the way of spectacle. This had been described to my wife--two of her close friends at work are hard-core opera fanatics--as being like 'Cirque du Soleil, only with singing.' So I was primed for some big-time excitement. It's the end of the world, here, people. It ought to be big.
The actual ending--the end of the world, and the burning down of Valhalla--did not live up to expectations. Essentially it consisted of various 'Gods' hanging from the ceiling on wires and writhing in mid air while computerized fire imagery played on the large movable blocks they used for scenery.
The performance itself, however, had a lot to offer. The first scene features the three Norns suspending in mid air wearing an immense strand of rope which represents time and fate. While they sang complicated net images played over them, and they rose and fell in mid-air as each one handed the rope to each other. Later, the Rhinemaidens sang while suspended in floating cubes of water (each, according to the program, weighed about 2500 pounds). The sequence where Siegfried, disguised as the evil Gertrun, comes to Brunhilde's fortress castle and forces her to marry him was exceedingly well done.
In general the whole experience was supremely satisfying. Sitting in a dark space and surrendering to an experience offers an escape from day-to-day worries. For the first thirty minutes I worry about my dog and my business and the emails I need to send. Then that all gives way and I attain true contact with the present, existing only in the moment, without any irritable reaching before or ahead. It has value.
I want to see more operas, I think.
I also intend to resume posting.