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Met's Ring, anyone?

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Do you really think that mechanical safety was better in 1876 than today.....even if today at the Met the heights may have increased? I'll take today's lawyer ridden, insurance company dictated, safety standards any day if I were ever asked to be a Rheinmaiden wink1.gifsmile.png.

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I would rather have fallen out of Wagner's contraption than off the top of the Machine, although I thought the effect (from an audience point of view) was fantastic.

A couple of the Valkyries got caught sliding down the paddling Machine planks, and they were very lucky not to have been injured.

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I would rather have fallen out of Wagner's contraption than off the top of the Machine, although I thought the effect (from an audience point of view) was fantastic.

A couple of the Valkyries got caught sliding down the paddling Machine planks, and they were very lucky not to have been injured.

I thought the Valkyries bobbing up and down on the planks was one of the weakest moments of the entire Ring. That is just my personal opinion. LePage had some literal things (like a dragon head in Rheingold or the projected forest in Siegfried or the horse Grane for Brünnhilde), but then we are supposed to buy the planks going up and down as horses? To me it looked like a moment where he thought, "I better use the planks a little more....."

I think that is part of the problem with this production. It doesn't quite know what it wants to do.....at times the machine is used to convey images that simply represent something it is obviously not...like in a metaphorical way. Planks as winged horses. Then, later in Götterdämmerung Brünnhilde has a horse that looks like a horse. So no continuity. Other times it is used (for example during the projected forest and forest bird) to show very concrete images. It comes across as a hodge podge of things to me. The 3D projections in Siegfried were actually very nice and I wish that would have been used more throughout the entire production.

I will say that I did like that Grane had a role in this production even if it was a fake horse. I hate how most other productions Grane is nowhere to ever be seen despite Brünnhilde mentioning him several times. The Met brings all kinds of animals on stage and even horses in other operas, but for some reason it doesn't seem to want a live horse for Grane. In fact, most productions don't want to put a live horse on stage. The recent Boris Godunov had two live horses, so why not the Ring???? But I will take a fake horse like in LePage's Ring. That is an okay compromise.

So, yes, there are some good things in this Ring, but overall, I am disappointed. I am glad to hear the singers look more comfortable in the production though.

Bart

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I think this production may look better in HD than in the house live. In the house, the singers were often isolated on the apron of the stage, with little interaction with their surroundings (that is, the Machine) or with eachother. I'm still baffled by the cost of that contraption. Since the Met spent so much money on the Machine, many of their other new productions are very low budget and cheap looking. I was generally unimpressed with the production. I hope they bring back the old production that it replaced at some point. That old production was ravishing and wonderful.

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Well, I've seen thru Siegfried now, and I must say that LePage's design and The Machine is growing on me. If I were a NYC'er, and was privileged enough to go to the Met live, I think I could live with this Ring.....love it even. Besides.....the singing! Act I of Siegfried with Jay Hunter Morris and Gerhard Siegel was as great as anything I ever hope to see/hear.

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Well, I've seen thru Siegfried now, and I must say that LePage's design and The Machine is growing on me. If I were a NYC'er, and was privileged enough to go to the Met live, I think I could live with this Ring.....love it even. Besides.....the singing! Act I of Siegfried with Jay Hunter Morris and Gerhard Siegel was as great as anything I ever hope to see/hear.

I saw the all HD broadcasts for this Ring, and after seeing Wagner's Dream tonight I'm especially sorry that I have a social obligation next week when they're showing Das Rheingold here again to kick off the HD cycle.The courage of those Rhinemaidens!

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Well, now I've seen all the Met Ring encore performances. LePage's design continued to impress me thru the 1st half of Gotterdammerung; then I thought it faltered a bit; and unfortunately I felt that the design fell far short of the mark when it came to the ending scene with that climax music signaling the fall of the Gods. I appreciated the crumbling statues as a visual clue, but surely something more grand is required. It's got to build (as the music does), not just be.

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As critical as I am about LePage's Ring, I will say that I loved the final moments with the planks undulating like waves. No production can possibly come close to what Wagner had in mind. Imagine daring to have moments where a character turns invisible, turns into a frog, then a dragon. Later, another dragon. Rhine maidens swimming in the river. A fire that consumes the world and then a flood at the end. No production is ever going to satisfy us! LOL

I have to say I absolutely loved the LA Ring finale. All the theatrical trappings fall away to show backstage and lights shine out at us in the audience as if to say, "Okay, you saw the harm that greed does and how love is the most important thing. Now it is up to you to do something about it!" Many people hated the LA Ring, but I enjoyed it!

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Heads-up: This production will be shown on TV all of this week, as part of the Great Performances at the Met series. It kicks-off with the S. Froemke documentary tonight, followed by each of the 4 operas, in order, commencing with Das Rheingold on Tuesday. Check local PBS TV listings for times.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/

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It is also now available on dvd and BluRay, but I will stick with the previous Met one which has such beautiful sets. I do like the two crazy Rings from both Copenhagen and Valencia that are interesting in another way. I own those too. But the new Met one is a pass, in my opinion. If the planks actually did something fascinating I would buy the videos, but they pretty much just sit there most of the time like regular sets except they create mainly abstract, boring, ugly sets. I personally think this is the biggest flop of Peter Gelb's tenure. It doesn't please the traditional crowd, and it really doesn't please anyone looking for modern or crazy. It is just so BLAH, in my own personal opinion.

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If anyone plans to buy this $$$ set from amazon in the US, it would really help out Ballet Alert and Ballet Talk for Dancers if you'd use the amazon.com search box at the bottom of each page or top right of the home page.

[/end commercial]

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except they create mainly abstract, boring, ugly sets

Did you not like Wotan and Loge's descent into Niebelheim?? This LePage production does that better than anything I can imagine.

P.S. And there was one aspect of the "planks" that no standard set can ever do.....the speed with which the "set" could be radically changed to fit the mood of the story or of the music.

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The series can also be DVR'ed for free, if brave souls wish to stay up and monitor the progress -- change blank DVDs every 2 hours. Every show begins at 9PM EST (on East Coast), meaning that SIegfried and Gotterdammerung will last 'til the wee hours.

That said, proceed with caution. From what I've read, this sounds like a not-so-cheap, cheap-looking set!

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Did you not like Wotan and Loge's descent into Niebelheim?? This LePage production does that better than anything I can imagine.

P.S. And there was one aspect of the "planks" that no standard set can ever do.....the speed with which the "set" could be radically changed to fit the mood of the story or of the music.

I actually was amazed at their descent much more in the old Met Ring done with traditional stage craft. For me it was much more magical. I also love the descent in the Valencia Ring having them descend using video and they are descending from space down to earth and then underground. But this is a personal opinion. I do think the descent in the new Plank Ring is one of the nice moments of that Ring, but these nice moments (for my taste) are so few and far between. I do think there were moments where the changing of the scenes was nice too, but those are also momentary.

I am one of the few people I know who loved the L.A. Ring. At the end when the world is coming to an end, all the set trappings are moved away and are shown to be all fantasy and the backstage is revealed and as that gorgeous music plays the stage lights shine out into the audience basically telling us it is up to us to change the greed, materialism, etc. I loved that ending, but very few people I have spoken with did. I also liked the larger than life costumes that the singers complained about, b/c it turned the characters into more mythological characters, but that is also something most people did not like.

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I've been reading a slow trickle of articles that are re-considering the LA Ring in a positive way.

For those with PVRs -- like TiVo -- you can PVR it whole, and then record it whole from the PVR to a DVR's hard drive, edit the file, and break it down into segments before burning it to disk.

The copy for me is an automatic overnight process. I usually put in chapter marks between scenes, and I break it into a max of 60-minute segments, because that's the max on my machine for the highest quality.

Which reminds me that I'd better head to Costco for another spool of blank DVD's. (Seattle's KCTS is broadcasting the Ring operas one each Sunday afternoon.

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That said, proceed with caution. From what I've read, this sounds like a not-so-cheap, cheap-looking set!

I was so looking forward to the Met's new Ring, and each installment disappointed me more, although Siegfried with the beautiful video images perked me up a little. There are some good things, but I think most people including me expected the "machine" to make the impossible possible and thrill us. Maybe our expectations were way too high. There was a preview video several years ago on the Met's website with computer images of what we might see, and the images I saw on that never actually happened. So I really wanted to like this new Ring. There are some good things, but overall, I did not personally think the planks added that much to the story telling and often hindered it. Ocasionally it made transitions of scenes work well, but that's about it, in my opinion. I don't think it looked cheap, but it definitely didn't deliver on the initial hype (for me at least). I would advise anyone who wants to invest in a full Ring Cycle on dvd to consider the old Met one (if you like traditional). It is gorgeous. If you like innovative I think the Copenhagen Ring and the Valencia Ring are a lot of fun.

If a Ring Cycle ever comes out on video with Nina Stemme, everyone buy that one. Even if the other singers do not measure up and even if the sets end up being cardboard paper falling down, she makes it worthwhile. She was absolutely fabulous in the San Francisco Ring! It was the Brunnhilde of a lifetime, in my opinion, and it was a great end to my opera going hobby. Not really interested in opera anymore after being obsessed for 20 years. It saved my life after my sister's death, and ballet has now replaced it. I feel like a cheater! LOL I am literally astonished that I've turned my back on opera. I am hoping my love of it will return one day.

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I've been reading a slow trickle of articles that are re-considering the LA Ring in a positive way.

For those with PVRs -- like TiVo -- you can PVR it whole, and then record it whole from the PVR to a DVR's hard drive, edit the file, and break it down into segments before burning it to disk.

The copy for me is an automatic overnight process. I usually put in chapter marks between scenes, and I break it into a max of 60-minute segments, because that's the max on my machine for the highest quality.

Which reminds me that I'd better head to Costco for another spool of blank DVD's. (Seattle's KCTS is broadcasting the Ring operas one each Sunday afternoon.

Do you mean that they are going to telecast the actual video of the Seattle Ring???? That is good news! Any possibility of a commercial release?

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No, they're broadcasting the Met (on HD) Ring on the local Seattle station, which is also part of basic cable in Vancouver.

People ask Jenkins constantly about filming the Seattle Ring, and the answer is always, "No money for it." If the Company were able to get a magic technology grant, like PNB did to fund their video projects (not commercial) -- a decade ago Francia Russell was begging for $10K to replace the camera they used to video each performance for their library -- combined with a big check, then it might be possible.

Jenkins has been careful about not starting projects that shift money away from basic productions and operating expenses. The default is always "Microsoft" or "Paul Allen," but Microsoft is already a season sponsor and the Allen Family Foundation is a big donor in general.

I wonder if it would have been more possible, if the artists and unions would have agreed, to have raised money for a Ring HD vs. the cancelled "Die Meistersinger" production as a farewell gift in honor of Jenkins, who leaves at the end of the Wagner Competition in summer 2014.

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If a Ring Cycle ever comes out on video with Nina Stemme, everyone buy that one. Even if the other singers do not measure up and even if the sets end up being cardboard paper falling down, she makes it worthwhile. She was absolutely fabulous in the San Francisco Ring! It was the Brunnhilde of a lifetime, in my opinion, and it was a great end to my opera going hobby.

This!!! Stemme was phenomenal. I have to got back to my Frida Leider excerpt recordings to love a Brunnhilde this much.

Not really interested in opera anymore after being obsessed for 20 years. It saved my life after my sister's death, and ballet has now replaced it. I feel like a cheater! LOL I am literally astonished that I've turned my back on opera. I am hoping my love of it will return one day.

It will if/when the time is ready. (Been there.)

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I wonder if it would have been more possible, if the artists and unions would have agreed, to have raised money for a Ring HD vs. the cancelled "Die Meistersinger" production as a farewell gift in honor of Jenkins, who leaves at the end of the Wagner Competition in summer 2014.

Either one would be a splendid gift -- I'm so sad that he's leaving at a financial low point for the company, since I can imagine some great tributes in a more affluent time.

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No, they're broadcasting the Met (on HD) Ring on the local Seattle station, which is also part of basic cable in Vancouver.

People ask Jenkins constantly about filming the Seattle Ring, and the answer is always, "No money for it." If the Company were able to get a magic technology grant, like PNB did to fund their video projects (not commercial) -- a decade ago Francia Russell was begging for $10K to replace the camera they used to video each performance for their library -- combined with a big check, then it might be possible.

Jenkins has been careful about not starting projects that shift money away from basic productions and operating expenses. The default is always "Microsoft" or "Paul Allen," but Microsoft is already a season sponsor and the Allen Family Foundation is a big donor in general.

I wonder if it would have been more possible, if the artists and unions would have agreed, to have raised money for a Ring HD vs. the cancelled "Die Meistersinger" production as a farewell gift in honor of Jenkins, who leaves at the end of the Wagner Competition in summer 2014.

Too bad! You got me excited! It is a crime not to immortalize the Seattle Ring! It is so beautiful!

As for Stemme I heard opera fanatics much older than I am who said she was better than Nilsson or anyone else they heard. I think I would break my opera disinterest if she were to release a "Wagner Arias/Scenes" cd or iTunes......I notice she's singing a concert of Wagner at the Mariinsky. Maybe it will be released on iTunes or video. It was one of the rare times I left an opera feeling like I had seen something for the ages.

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Heads-up: This production will be shown on TV all of this week, as part of the Great Performances at the Met series. It kicks-off with the S. Froemke documentary tonight, followed by each of the 4 operas, in order, commencing with Das Rheingold on Tuesday. Check local PBS TV listings for times.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/

Thanks for the heads up, Natalia, and reviving the thread. Caught the documentary tonight.

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I caught it, too. That 'monster set' was...uh...interesting. It *does" fill-up the stage so that 'cheapness' does not really come to mind, as do the flimsy sets on recent Ratmansky ballets. I still prefer the simple beauty of old-fashioned academic realism but this is worth a look. At least it's 'free' for folks watching for the first time on TV.

A felt sorry for the New Yorkers who sat in the downpour in the middle of Times Square during the opening of Rheingold. That looked yucky.

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"Interesting" is the word. I felt sorry for the singers, especially poor Deborah Voigt flat on her butt, not a very dignified posture for Brunnhilde. Imagine Flagstad and Melchior trying to negotiate it....

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