Oh Lord It's the Ring Cycle Part One
Monday August 12
My first night of the Ring Cycle I managed to make it with enough time to go pee and buy a cookie to hide in my purse before the show. Mental note: tomorrow leave earlier. Don't get lost.
I had blithely typed "Seattle Opera" into my GPS and it took me straight to Seattle Opera's office and warehouse, which was an interesting detour, but didn't get me quite where I needed to be.
The music starts low and builds, and suddenly it's just amazingly lovely and ethereal and I'm quite lost in it.
The scene opens and there are 3 mermaids who are actually suspended from cables to look like they're floating and they "swim" through the air and paddle their little flippers while singing and I'm just totally amazed because I'm a swimmer and I'm a singer and there are good reasons not to do both at the same time. Those women are seriously amazing.
There's this dwarf guy and he's all about, hey ladies, come give me some loving, and they laugh at him, and lead him on and then dump his ass which makes him mad. Then a big hunk of gold appears, which the mermaids are supposed to be protecting, and the dwarf dude wants it, but they laugh at him again and say only someone willing to forswear love completely can forge the gold into the amazing ring that will give the wearer amazing power. He's irked so he says F you you singing fish. Who needs love? And he takes the gold away and the mermaids flip out, both literally and figuratively.
So far it seems pretty mehhh story wise. Music is really pretty but who couldn't see any of that coming? Are mermaids really the best choice of Brinks Guards?
Then we go to a pastoral setting where a bunch of Gods are sitting around being self satisfied. The head god guy is chuffed because the giants just finished building his castle. His wife is mad because the payment he promised the giants for building the castle was her sister. I'd be irritated too! He's like, meh, whatevs, I've got my pal "Loge" on it, whose name is Loge but I keep thinking of as Loki.
Then the giants come in chasing the sister, ready to demand payment. One of the giant really loves the sister and the other one is really just more interested in not getting screwed over. There's a lot of drama and then finally Loge/Loki shows up shooting fire all over the place. I guess he's a demi-god, which I think is bad thinking. I think the dude that shoots fire ought to get full God, but that's just me. Anyway, he spins this tale about a dwarf who has this magic ring that has to be returned to the really sad mermaids, but hey, he's also got a sh*t ton of gold, and by the way, this ring makes him crazy powerful. The giants get nervous thinking about the dwarf with all this power, so they agree that if the Head God will go get the ring and the gold from the dwarf, they'll take that in exchange for the sister. But they're going to keep the sister with them til they get the gold, and they run off with her.
Then all the gods start to get sick, and it's because the sister took her magic apples with her and that's what keeps the gods all young forever, and at this point I'm thinking this Head God dude is just an IDIOT. But Loki has one apple hidden away and he gives it to the Head God and they jump into a hole in the ground to find the evil dwarf. They find him. They trick him. They bring him back upstairs along with his gold.
I guess I should say something about the fact that he made an amazing helmet which allows the wearer to turn into anything they want and also be invisible. They steal that from him, but he's still wearing the ring. Then the head god dude takes the ring from him and the dwarf curses him and says anyone who wears it will be perpetually dissatisfied forever.
The giants come back. They demand that the gold be piled in front of the sister and if it's enough to completely block the sight of her, they will take the payment, but if they can still see her, the deal is off and they'll take her back. You can see where this is going. They pile up all the gold. It's not enough. They throw in the magic helmet. It's not enough. So the head god throws a temper tantrum about not giving up the ring, he doesn't care what it means. Then this lady emerges from the grass and sings about how crappy things are coming, and he must give up the ring, and her daughters, the Norns, are something about nature? I was starting to zone out a bit here.
So the head god gives up the ring, the giants take it all away including the ring and the magic helmet, which I'm sure will not come back later to bite anyone in the ass. The sister gives out some god apple snack time.
Loki gives the head god some lecturing cuz he wanted the ring to be returned to the mermaids. The Gods all head off to their new castle, Valhalla. Loki stomps off cranky. The End!
Musical Experience: 7 I was never bored and I enjoyed the music, but none of it really transported me, except a little part at the beginning, and I wasn't humming anything as I left.
*Nazi Scale: 0 I dunno. I suppose a case could be made about the gods & the giants & the dwarves all symbolizing something to do with racial superiority, but the gods were such idiots I don't see how anyone can say they came out looking good.
* The Nazism Scale is not a scale suggesting that I THINK Wagner was using this opera to be digging on the Nazis or whatever. I know there's a complicated history including his sister using his work in ways he may not have intended. By Nazism Scale I mean things about the story that make me go, ew, yeah, I get why the Nazis got all charged up by this.
Surprise Plagiarism: Not getting a Tolkien vibe yet really. I mean yeah, rings & dwarves & giants and all, but the stories are nothing alike. Disney clearly stole the mermaids as inspiration for the sisters in The Little Mermaid. The Norn is a villain in my guilty pleasure show Lost Girl, this lady who can do crazy powerful things as long as she's not separated from her tree. So, I'm thinking a steal here.
Overall Experience: 7 I liked it. I'm going back for more!