The good news is that contracts have been signed for next years The Met: Live in HD series. Yes, the Saturday morning telecasts of Metropolitan Opera performances will continue to be seen at the Durango Stadium 9 for the 2011-12 season. Word has it that Durango had to average about 100 patrons per performance to demonstrate strong interest, enough to renew the contract.
Last fall at the beginning of the experiment, local opera lovers numbered fewer than three dozen. But word got out, and audiences swelled to more than 100 for the remainder of the season.
The biggest crowd turned out for John Adams Nixon in China on Feb. 12. Even the loopy, dramatically delirious Il Trovatore drew 105 stalwarts on April 30. One can only conclude that the opera gods have smiled on Durango.
Well, the opera gods will smile big time on Saturday. The Metropolitan Opera will launch Part 2 of its spectacular production of Richard Wagners Ring Cycle. Die Walküre can be seen in live transmission at the early hour of 10 a.m. Why? This bear of an opera runs over five hours. It you go, show up between 9:30 and 10 a.m., get a good seat and be prepared for a long haul. The production has three acts. Thankfully, that means two intermissions.
Basically, Wagner set about writing something on the scale of the Bible when he wrote and composed the Ring Cycle. The material was drawn from Scandinavian, German and Icelandic sagas, myths and ancient tales. Its foolish to even try a summary, but thats the task of this preview.
Part I, Das Reingold, is all about origins. Theres a dwarf, some giants, Wotan, the leader of the gods, and his troubled wife, Fricka. The famous ring of the title has magical qualities, and everyone wants it, especially Wotan.
Part II, Die Walküre, is about Wotans twins, those pesky teenagers Siegmund and Sieglinde. Various rivalries ensue, and Brünnhilde, Wotans warrior daughter, gets caught in the middle of a messy family quarrel. She, too, is an emotional teenager with a mind of her own. Brünnhilde must choose between her own sense of justice and loyalty to her father. Guess who wins.
As Brünnhilde, soprano Deborah Voight will no doubt dazzle everyone with her sheer lung power, famous stamina and gorgeous singing voice. With Bryn Terfel as Wotan, the cast has spectacular leadership. But in the Robert Lepage production, the set may capture more than its share of attention. A giant machine with multiple moving parts creates all kinds of shapes and spaces, moving and static, on which this fanciful spectacle will take place. Forests and starry skies, caverns and caves will loom into view and disappear in the mists of time. This is the Mets new production and should not be missed.
Parts 3 and 4, Siegfried and Gotterdammerung tell the tale of Siegfried, the big, fearless and not-too-smart son of the incestuous twins from Part 2. The word Siegfried is German for peace through victory.
Victory is hard won. The magical ring ends up on Siegfrieds finger, but he is killed, and our very own Brünnhilde removes it. After she slides it on her own finger, she hurls herself onto his funeral pyre. The story of the gods and their destruction comes to a flaming end. Then, presumably, everything starts all over again a new cycle.
As I said, dont miss it.
Judith Reynolds is a Durango writer, artist and critic. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.