I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Monday, 13 February 2012

Valhalla's now a parking lot

Oh no, you say, not more bloody Wagner. And not that one with all the umlauts which most fail to acknowledge. Twilight of the Gods? Isn’t that what Europe is presently experiencing?

I sympathise. Honestly. Think of me not as John The Baptist to the Bayreuth Tyrant. But as John further down the road, post Salome, headless, wandering round like a chicken. I am not here to proselytise. My wheelbarrow is full of horse manure with which you may – if you wish – encrust your musical garden. And think on these things:

● The high definition transmission from the NY Met to our local theatre started at 17.00 GMT. It ended at 23.09.
● I was – am – ill with a malady which, in my gloomier moments, I see eventually carrying me off to my personal Gőtterdämmerung.
● The theatre car-park was full and I had to park near the soccer stadium. Oh-hoy, went the crowd, a bit like Siegfried.
● The TV broadcast is sponsored by Bloomberg so there were commercials.
● A plump blonde with immaculate teeth suggested I might like to make a charitable donation to the opera company in the richest city in the world.

Neither Mrs LdP nor I anticipate Wagner as we do Richard Strauss. It is an act of faith. And whereas Mrs LdP can handle trolls, giants and dragons I can’t. Happily the music absorbs these misgivings and our concerns become familiar: love, power, greed, jealousy, moral weakness. Siegfried is a pain-in-the-ass hooligan and must die. But it helps if you make him innocent, even playful. Debra Voigt (Brűnnhilde) sings endlessly, glowing, a reminder that love is more than sentimentality or mere desire. And Wagner’s loud enough to cough in without disturbing others.

5 comments:

marja-leena said...

Were you dragged to the theatre unwillingly, dear Ldp, or did you go for the sake of Tone Deaf?

I've not seen any of the Rings series in real life or in full on TV. The closest but expensive opportunities for us are in Seattle, just south of us. Seattle Opera runs a Rings Festival every two or three years, I think. Much as I love the few parts that I know, I could not sit that long in one spot.

We did enjoy a superb Wagner's The Flying Dutchman many years ago presented in an incredible setting, a real castle, at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland.

Rouchswalwe said...

Happy Valentine's Day, dear LdP! And to Mrs. LdP! A Valhalla Valentine's Eve post ... now I've read it all. Your description of John "post Salome" caught me in mid-ale swallow, and I prosted your "Siegfried is a pain-in-the-ass hooligan and must die" even as I laughed. Hope your malady can be slain with umlauts and German brandy.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

M-L: You could say I went because I'd bought the tickets several months previously. And I did ponder not going given the state of my lungs. However, I didn't go because I felt I was in hock to Tone Deaf: I am quite capable of writing one TD post every day for the foreseeable future (and did so to begin with).

It probably sounds pretentious But I go because I know music has the ability to confer a state of grace that is unique. It only happens rarely but when it does it is completely separate from the man-made world (even though music is man-made) and of course a million miles away from the so-called supernatural world that others seem to require.

I should add that there were two half-hour breaks so your bottom would have been less at risk than you perhaps imagine. But length is just one of the many obstacles Wagner has to overcome. He comes carrying an awful lot of baggage. This is why I stress I am not out to proselytise. Most people, and that includes so-called music lovers, make a decision to avoid the music and successfully manage to do so. He remains very much a niche composer (a very small niche at that, and thus far too expensive for most people's pockets) and unless there's a small spark of internal enthusiasm, no amount of external recommendation works.

One of many disadvantages of admitting to Wagnerism is that one tends to be typed as a weirdo. Or smug. I can live with that. And I suppose that had my ragged lungs given out in Brünnhilde's immolation scene there are worse accompaniments for leaving this imperfect coil. Mind you had it happened Mrs LdP would have been left with mixed feelings given that I hadn't clued her up on the car's super-dooper auto gear-change.

RW (zS): You always were a one for alliteration, weren't you? Also I'm pleased you responded to my deliberately chosen tone of voice. Wagner doesn't need added grandeur, he can do that himself. Nuts and bolts are better. Even though my palate isn't up to scratch we'll be having a bottle of white burgundy tonight. My secular blessings on you and yours.

Plutarch said...

I spent a term at school where every Wednesay a man called Dr Garten took us through the entire Ring Cycle with the help of a few old records and a small piano whereon he bashed out the leitmotifs to make the room and the entire school shake. Ever since I feel that I have known the cycle well, but with an unusual slant. On the whole I think it was a better experience as far as I with my brief attention span was concerned than a week at Beyreuth.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

Plutarch: The more preparation the better - I have to confess this is the key to Wagner. He has to be taken seriously. Incidentally, the idea of Leimotifs always seemed a bit crude to begin with. But they are wholly justified in Götterdämmerung and reach a musical triumph as the Nothung and Sigfried LMs are intertwined over Siegfried's funeral bier.