It was a weekend of high and low culture for me. Don’t you love mix and match?
I started off this rainy morning with a trip to the movie theater to watch the live, HD simulcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner. A bit heavy for 10 in the morning you say? Well, I did stop for a Mexican Mocha first for fortification. I chatted for a while with another coffee drinker wearing a Valkyrie t-shirt bemoaning the fact that no one else wanted to come with us.
Being a former opera impressario myself I was just as interested in seeing the new set and the background piece they always do before the production begins. I love the backstage stuff. That’s why I am production manager for Muse of Fire on tour. Photo by Ken Howard-Metropolitan Opera
Imagine a drive shaft fitted with large planks that rotate independently and cover the width of the stage. Imagine it weighs something like 45 tons. Imagine having to reinforce the stage of the Met to handle it. Imagine people walking on near vertical surfaces. Imagine the countless variations such a machine can make. Now you have an idea of the set.You can see a short video here.
If you know nothing about The Ring cycle it has everything that your favorite reality show has and more. Love, lust, back door betrayals, magic, adventure, murder, greed, rainbow bridges, castles, dwarves, gods, dragons, how can you go wrong. And then there is the magic helmet. You remember Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in What’s Opera Doc, don’t you? Hmm, does that sound like high culture? And then there are the costumes, the sets, the lighting, the singers and the music. Bryn Terfel, one of my country men was portraying Wotan. Well done.
Now for some low culture. Nearby was a Johnny Rockets. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is a 50’s style burger/soda fountain restaurant. A nice young man in the requisite white shirt and pants with the little soda jerk cap waited on me. I didn’t want to embarrass him by taking a photo. Burger, fries, and a coke. Yum!
I topped off the day with some more high culture. Tonight’s Seattle Symphony program, with Robert Spano conducting and Marc-Andre Hamilin, pianist was Stravinsky ‘s Symphony in 3 Movements, Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand, Copland’s Appalachian Spring for 13 instruments and finally Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Although I was ushering, I did get to hear the program over the closed circuit tv.
So what did you do?