Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Night at the Opera

I've been doing a lot of things this week with after-school activities (seeing a German film and Schloss Charlottenburg, for example).  Yesterday I also went to the market 8 mins away from my flat. It was so cool. Much bigger than I thought it was. I only spent 10 Euro, and I got a whole bunch of produce for this week: 2 bunches radishes, 6 apples, 6 nectarines, 500g strawberries, and a couple stalks of rhubarb. Not too bad at all. 

 However, none of these things can compare to what I did last night.  I went to see a ballet at the Deutsche Oper based on a series of operas by Wagner. The series consists of four operas, and when the full Ring um den Ring is performed you are supposed to span it out over several days, or so I was told.  So how the ballet was done was really interesting. There was a narrator for parts of it and a piano player live on the edge of the stage. The music (including vocals in parts) had been prerecorded.  It was a very interesting mixture. It took a while to get used to the modern style of the ballet, but the music was good throughout. Plus, all of the dancers were amazingly fit (yes, of course they would be, but I was still impressed).  My two favorite parts were the Ride of the Valkyries because those dancers were just really neat (The Valkyries were these fierce women goddesses who picked up the souls of solders who die in battle.)  My second favorite was when Siegfried finds Brunhilde, wakes her up, and they fall in love.  It was beautifully done and made you want to sigh afterwards. Fine, I'll say it. It was the romantic in me that wanted to get all mushy and melty.

All in all, the ballet lasted 4 1/2 hours. Long, I know, but amazingly good. The second half was even better because the student with whom I went knew the plot-line.  He was able to explain a lot of stuff to me during the half hour intermission.  I had read the myths once but when I was a lot younger, so I didn't really recall any details. This ballet was definitely one where you had to have a background understanding of the material to fully grasp what was going on and the symbolism.  Of course, I could appreciate some of the elements before I was debriefed, but I wasn't blown out of the water until after intermission when I learned the plot-lines.

All in all it was a very enlightening and fun experience, and, if my friend wants to drag me to another Wager production of some sort again, I wouldn't mind it at all.  I'll just have to make sure to get the synopsis first thing.

3 comments:

David said...

Drag one to Wagner? Good Lord, what a terrible thought! I'm flabbergasted, appalled, and dismayed. And joking. The great man is definitely an acquired taste, and one that a lot of Germans are yet to acquire (the standard response from any German under about 87 is stark disbelief that one would WANT to go an see a performance of ANYTHING by RW).

But hey, it's all good, it just means that there are more seats for those of us who are fool enough to part with the $$ (or Euro!) to indulge ourselves in some damn fine Musik!

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Oh, not to foist it unnecessarily on you, here's my version of the night, with full commentary on the original works - for anyone who might be interested.

http://halfwaytohotzeplotz.blogspot.com/2008/06/catching-clap-with-wagner.html