Saturday, November 11, 2006

Two hundred and fifty

... days to go until the start of the next Ring Cycle, my seventh God willing, at the Met in New York next July. It's the same Mariinsky Theatre production which we saw in Baden-Baden in the Spring of 2004 (and how odd stroke cool is it that I am currently fifth in google's results for "Mariinsky Ring Cycle").

This will be one of the very few occasions on which the Ring Cycle is presented as Wagner intended, on four consecutive evenings. This was an unrealistic intention in my opinion: five hours a night is too much, the singers wear themselves out. The Mariinsky approach is to take a huge team of young singers and alternate the roles between them, so that nobody has to sing every night. Mind you, Wagner seems to have been not entirely conscious of the nature of the Ring, he apparently thought that Siegfried would be the best-loved and most important part of the cycle, and that people would put up with the rest for its sake.

(And before you mention musicals, let me remind you first that the performances are up to five hours long, and second that opera singers do not use microphones. They fill the hall using pure, unassisted lung power. Should you ever be lucky enough to hear an opera singer taking part in a smaller-scale concert evening, you'll recognize this in the way that they can drown out the orchestra and make your ears ring without breaking sweat. I saw our own Catriona Smith singing a Bach chorale in a church recently, and would say that it was for her probably no more strenuous than attending a loud party.)

In other news one might well define Homo Sapiens Sapiens as "the animal which is never satisfied." It took approximately twenty hours for me to go from complaining about the cold in my unheated apartment, to complaining about the dried-out air and smell of hot metal in my heated apartment.

In other other news I spent the afternoon with Princess yesterday, as it was a nice day and neither of us was particularly enthusiastic about work. We had lunch in a pleasant Thai restaurant on the Wilhelmsplatz, bought presents for upcoming birthdays, and then retired exhausted to the new (already year-old) Café Königx for tea and cakes, highly enjoyable.

I related my dream, and as I got to the part where she held her foot out for a massage, she laughed and said that it was true to life. Princess postulated: granted that Freud was correct to maintain that our thoughts are as real as physical experience in their influence on our personalities and development, and given that remembered dreams are a kind of thinking, it follows that a pleasant dream is as beneficial as a nice experience in waking life. An interesting idea, it's certainly true that the positive atmosphere of this dream - and the vague unhappiness of the other - are still with me days later.

Eleven down, nineteen to go

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Blogger Savtadotty said...

Here's a suggestion that appears to defy logic: open a window or two for a while. Even though you will be trying to heat the world, the smell will dissipate more rapidly, and then you can close them. I do the same in summer when the air-conditioner removes too much moisture from the air in my apt.

November 11, 2006 at 3:00:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger brooksba said...

Your passion for the Ring is stunning. I learn much more about the opera as I read your site. Quite awesome.

November 12, 2006 at 1:53:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I want to go see that. Hmm. Can I make it work? Probably not but I can dream. I would love to see it live, I am quite fond of opera if I can see it being performed, not so much of the recordings.

November 17, 2006 at 4:53:00 p.m. GMT+1  

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