Oh Lord It's The Ring Cycle Part III - Revenge of the Kidney Stones
Although I'm sure these things are in no way related, the morning after Die Walkure I awoke to kidney stones. They hurt. They required me to take many drugs.
Up until the last minute, I was convinced I would still go see Siegfried on Thursday. I asked my friend to give me a ride. I figured so what if I'm loopy. I can sit for 3 hours. But as the time came for me to start getting ready, reality set in. The same drugs that were keeping the pain at bay were making it hard for me to do things like get out of bed, put some clothes on and walk downstairs. I toyed with not taking the drugs, because hey! I wasn't hurting anymore! I must be cool! But a few minutes of the drugs wearing off let me know pretty quick I was not cool.
So, I missed Siegfried. And the general consensus is that Siegfried is the best damn one. It's the Empire Strikes Back. It's the reason for the season. When I returned for the final show on Saturday, I mentioned to another attendee, a stranger but we were practicing friendly chatting in the drink line, that I missed Siegfried and he looked at me with a combination of pity and disgust. "You missed it?!" he said incredulously. "Well, you'll have to come back next week." I didn't snort in his face, so yay for me.
Just to give you a feel for what WE ALL missed because of kidney stones, let me explain that The Ring Cycle is about 12 hours, and I managed to miss the 3 hours in which Our Hero grows up, becomes a man, forges a magic sword, kills his oppressor, kills the evil dragon and wins his horde, smashes a god's magic stick, rescues a maiden from behind a burning wall of flame and falls in love. I realize Wagner was a genius, but having now seen 3 of the 4 cycles, I'd like to suggest Wagner may have had issues with pacing.
I read the synopsis of Siegfried in order to follow Gotterdamerung, although I needn't have bothered since most of Gotterdamerung is people singing "Previously in the Ring Cycle, the following happened..." but in order for us to make it to the finish line, I offer you a synopsis of the synopsis.
Siegfried's mother dies giving birth to him in the crazy East Forest so he is raised by Mime. Mime is Al the Evil Dwarf's brother, and he hates Al. Al was a real dick to everyone after he got that ring, and he hasn't been much nicer since he lost it. Mime raises Siegfried to be able to fight the dragon and win the treasure.
Meanwhile Mime is trying to fix the broken sword pieces from Siegmund's magic sword that he rescued from that tree, with little success. Wotan shows up and tells Mime that only the man who knows no fear can fix the sword, and that man will also kill Mime. Mime figures out that fearless man is Siegfried, so he prepares some poison for Siggy to kill him after he kills the dragon.
Siggy fixes the sword & kills the dragon. During the battle he gets dragon blood on his hands which burns, so he puts his hand in his mouth to cool the burning. Suddenly, because of the dragon blood, he can understand bird song, and for some reason this makes me think about how they think now that birds are related to dinosaurs, which I'm betting Wagner didn't know. Profound? Unlikely. Let us continue.
So the birds tell Siggy about Mime's evil plot, so Siggy kills Mime. Then he feels very sad and alone. The birds tell him about this amazing woman who is trapped behind a wall of fire so Siggy decides to go free her. Wotan shows up in disguise and tries to distract Siggy. Siggy fights him and breaks Wotan's magic staff, which is the source of much of his power. Oops. Siggy passes through the fire, finds this beautiful sleeping woman, wakes her with a kiss, and he and Brunhilde "rejoice in their love" according to the synopsis, but for some reason I now have the song Get It On (Bang the Gong) stuck in my head.
Music: 10 My only knowledge of the music of Siegfried remains this. And you know, What's Opera Doc is pretty damn good.
Nazi Ick Factor: 10 I have no idea from reading the synopsis if the story was icky or not, but kidney stones are the devil. I'm sure Nazi's didn't invent kidney stones, but they would have if they could have.
Surprise Plagiarism: Just reading the synopsis it's entirely possible that the Connor storyline from Angel was lifted from here, and now I have Wagner to blame in addition to Joss Whedon.
Overall Experience: -11