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I'm loving it! Those who are still up, you have time to tune in and catch the Ride of the Valkyries, which starts Act III (they're near the end of Act II now). This opera is much longer than Rhinegold.

Bryn Terfel is a fabulous Wotan--made me tear up, he did (and that's just when he;s stressed out about having to let Siegmunde die--imagine how I'll be moved when he has to put Brunhilde to sleep). I forget the name of the Fricka, but she's fab, too. The young German tenor singing Siegmunde is fantabulous (and cute), Hunding is menacing, Brunhilde is regal. The orchestra is even better than yesterday.

This opera is more psychologically interesting, dramatic and romantic than Rhinegold, and the singers have, generally, prettier things to sing than in Rhinegold.

The minimalist/computerized staging worked well for me in the first act, but what was up with the eye of Sauron thing in Act II?! I guess it was the giant, now-wise plucked eye of Wotan, but it took me a while to figure that out.
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I'm trying to like it just like every time I watch Wagner. I can't say I hate it but does he have to take four hours to tell the story?

I really don't dig these new "minimalist" types of stagings but I realize these things cost lots of bucks and it's a way to save on hardware and furniture onstage.

Jonas Kaufmann isn't that young (unless you're a "bluehair"). I hadn't heard of him till fairly recently. I was surprised to find out he's 43. But he sings everything. And I mean he can actually sing them. Not a Wagner tenor dabbling in French or the Verdi/Puccini school or vice versa. Youtube as tons of clips.
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George Bernard Shaw said Wagner has sublime moments--but terrible half hours ;-)
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George Bernard Shaw said Wagner has sublime moments--but terrible half hours ;-)


And Mark Twain said "Wagner's music is better than it sounds"
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I think the best approach to Wagner is via the orchestral pieces like the overtures and Ride of the Valkyries. It's cool to listen to them in the order composed and see the increasing creativity and complexity of Wagner's compositions.

If you're into mythology and psychological drama, the Ring librettos are fun, but long. And kinda repetitive because he wrote them backwards! First he wrote the libretto for an opera about Siegfried's death, which became Gotterdammerung. But he wanted a prequel about Siegfried's youth--hence Siegfried. But then he wanted to explain how Siegfried came to be, so we got Die Walkure. Then he decided it would be nice to have an intro explaining the gods and the ring. He could've gone further back and explained the origin of the gods and the universe! Anyway, he did compose the music in order, although he interrupted composition of the Ring cycle to churn out a few little ditties... Tristan and Isolde and Die Meistersinger (the latter might be a good first Wagnerian opera--it's a comedy).

Anyhoo, the Ring is like Tolkien following The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with the Silmarillion.
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Mark Twain said "Wagner's music is better than it sounds"

I say, "It would have to be."

SG - never liked opera and especially not the Nazi's opera.
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I loved it too. But think I'll be giving up tonight at around midnight, as Siegfried is my least favorite. I'll watch the entire Twilight of the Gods tomorrow (too lazy to look up the umlaut characters for German. :))

Wessex
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as Siegfried is my least favorite

The first time I heard The Forging Song I was totally unaware it was from Siegfried. I loved it. A great rousing piece of work. The person playing it for me said it was from Wagner's Siegfried. I said, "Wow! It's Wagner set to music!"
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The first time I heard The Forging Song If was totally unaware it was from Siegfried. I loved it. A great rousing piece of work.

_____________

LOL. Hope you grew to like more of Wagner's operas/music.

I know it's weird, but I can't stand "rousing music" for more than a very limited number of minutes. I don't listen much to my local classical music station because too much of it is of the "rousing music" type. Ride of the Valkyries is great in the opera because of the context, but I don't like it when played solo.

Probably because I'm such a philistine, I tend to like music that makes me feel "exalted" like the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde. Ralph Vaughn William's "The Lark Ascending" and the Eagles "Wasted Time," though very different, each give me a similar "exalted" feeling. Obviously, can't be in a state of exaltation all the time. :)

Like alstro said earlier, I also usually cry a little during the part of the last act of Die Walkure between Wotan and Brunnhilde.

Wessex

P.S. I might have to learn how to type the vowels with umlauts. :)
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I tend to like music that makes me feel "exalted" like the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde.

Ah yes the "Exalted" thing. "Chest music". I understand. Actually Liebestod vs Di Quella Pira from Il Trovatore would be a razor's edge choice. Depends on my mood I guess. I would say I would want to listen to Di Quella Pira more often, but if I was going to be stranded on the proverbial desert island with one or the other I'd probably choose Liebestod
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I find the Ring Cycle (like most of his operas) to be preachy - the recitatives are long. slow and tedious.

My favorite part is the very end: Seigfreid's Funeral March.

Count Upp
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Ralph Vaughn William's "The Lark Ascending"

I adore that piece! I'm a big Vaughan Williams fan in general. I played his London Symphony in my Sunday orchestra in high school (was the North Sore Youth Orchestra, morphed into the Long Island Youth Symphony)...where I first learned that Ralph was often pronounced Rafe in England ;-) Anyway, A London Symphony expanded my definition of classical music.

Our non-classical-music-listening brethren here might recognize his "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" which was featured in the movie "Master and Commander" (when they had to let the sailor go--and therefore die--around Cape Horn after he saved the loser-sailor played by Lee Ingleby). It's been voted one of the most popular classical pieces in England, ditto Lark Ascending.

And as opposed to Wagner the proto-Nazi, V-W was a wonderful man, an egalitarian who volunteered to serve as a medical corpsman in WWI in his 40s (and later went deaf from the loud bombs/artillery he was exposed to).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Vaughan_Williams
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lark_Ascending
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lark_Ascending

Ralph Vaughan Williams is one of the reasons my favorite period of music is early 20th century.

I hope Art is right about what happens after death, coz ole Rafe is one of the people I wanna give a hug when I get there.
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the recitatives are long. slow and tedious.

And yet loudly declaimed! I agree. Like I said, Wagner writes better for orchestra than voice, in general.

I enjoyed Siegried last night, but the sets more than the music. I do like the forging scene and the orchestral music that's been abstracted into concert pieces (eg, Siegfried Idyll). I was reading while it was on, mainly looking up when Mime was singing (the scheming dwarf you love to hate). Especially the scene where Siegfried can understand what Mime is thinking rather than saying, after tasting the dragon's blood.
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And as opposed to Wagner the proto-Nazi, ...

The problems in Germany are caused by the three J's: Jews, Jesuits, and Journalists!

Count Upp
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Well, I'm about wrung out of Ring! Hagen (GOtterdammerung's villain) was awesome last night, and the sets the best yet. BUt I'm cranky from getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night for the last 4 nights...that ain't the was it s'posed to be in retirement! It's been impossible to do my beach walks, houseowrk or anything in the morning on that little sleep. How in heck will I drag my tired azz to the farmer's market?

On a more pleasant note, I had my first facial in a very long time yesterday--complete with shoulder/neck/upper back massage. How good it is! (The rich are not like you & me--they can afford facials every week ;-) And for some reason I have Wagner's Rienzi rattling around my brain this morning--a slow Ring escape?
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On an even more pleasant note, I went back to sleep for an hour and a half. Real REM sleep, complete with half-remembered dream. Awesome! Especially since this is something I can rarely do, no matter how little sleep I've gotten (or as I myseteriously typed, not matte show). Alas, my husband fixed coffee and poached egg on a half (gluten-free) English muffin with butter & lemon (a favorite breakfast) so now I have warmed-up coffee. NOt sure about the egg yet--one thing at a time ;-)
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It just occurred to me. Throughout this entire thread nobody has mentioned

Kill da Wabbitt, Kill da Wabbitt...
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