Das Rhiengold

I’ve got fairly used to spectacle over the years, it usually doesn’t take that much to please me. However in light of tonight I think I’m going to have to rethink my definition of the word, Das Rhiengold was superb in everyway – it was also as mad as a box of badgers…

Brief plot for those who aren’t familiar with it – a dwarf – Alberich – renounces love in exchange for the means to create a ring that will allow him to rule creation (this predates Tokien before you raise your eyes), meanwhile Wotan has hired a couple of giants to build him a new abode but cheats them on the deal to give them his sister. He and Loge (who may be his brother) descend to visit Alberich where they steal the gold that Alberich has used in order to gain Freia (the sister) back – but Wotan cheats once again and gains the ring, which is cursed in the process and ends up cursing he and the rest of the gods to die, although the reason isn’t quite clear how.

Now filter that all through a story of 1930’s decadence and add a touch of Joseph Mengle…

Despite this lunacy it gripped from start to finish – two hours forty flashed by in what seemed like less than half of that time and nothing can prepare you for the music, no matter how much you’ve listened to it beforehand its just so much more powerful.

From the sustained 136 bar E flat that opens it though to the finale which brings in the themes of the Walkure and Siegfried’s death it all seems just so intense that you cannot tear yourself away from it – I’ve got a day free tomorrow but I’m counting down the hours till Thursday when I can immerse myself in this all again. It is deeply, deeply wonderful – and surprisingly romantic, the English surtitles bringing to light a side that I wasn’t aware of before – how playful it is at times.

I was unsure if a holiday I’d booked over a year ago could live up to expectations, but on the strength of tonight I think the problem may be whether future holidays live up to this.

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