LA Scene: The Other Ring Story at the Hollywood Bowl

I finally saw a little bit of that other famed RING story... Wagner's the Ring (Der Ring des Nibelungen)!

I went to the Hollywood bowl to see this show, Act III of Gotterdammerung!

I wonder if there are any other RING stories? Does every culture have some kind of ring of power mythology?

John Mauceri gave a prologue before the show -- the Ring epic is 15 hours over 4 nights. He also gave a synopsis of the show (Act III of the last part) we were about to see.

Of Wagner, I only know the renown, "What's Opera, Doc?" with Bugs Bunny! Yeah, I'm so cultured!!

And of course, I know the "Ride of the Valkyries" from "Apocalypse Now" and "Kill the Wabbit" in "What's Opera, Doc?"

Anyway, Mauceri, in his droll style gave us novices the rundown on the whole cycle and the show ahead. He has a gift!

Between the mood of the music, expression on the singers and the descriptions Mauceri had given all helped a lot though I think they should consider some kind of subtitles for their video screens like the way they do in the LA Opera.

An indoor staged show would look quite different than a show at the Bowl. Mauceri and company must be given praise for utilizing the unique setting they have. Without sets or costumes, the Bowl crew used dramatic lighting of the Bowl to set mood and create a sense of place.

The Bowl shell would be bathed in blue (see above photos) for scenes with the Rhine Maidens. The shell was tinted orange when Sigfried described passing through fire to find Brunhilde. When Sigfried was killed and his body moved to the Gibichung's hall, 4 powerful spot lights shot up to the sky to mimic the pillars of the great hall.

Brunhilde ordered up a funeral pire and fire rose from jets on stage and smoke started to billow from the the bowl. And when the river rose to destroy everything, the spot lights change positions like they fell over and on top of the bowl, more fire bolted up to show the collapse of Valhalla!

All in all an interesting evening and wonderful introduction to Wagner for me the newbie to opera.

UPDATE: Mark Swed of the LA Times gave a positive review of the event.


You have to admire the sheer audacity of John Mauceri's programming the third act of Wagner's "Gotterdammerung" (The Twilight of the Gods) in such a setting. The conductor was loaned the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the occasion, in place of his own Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Leading Wagnerian singers were engaged. And Christine Brewer, the young soprano who made a vivid impression as Isolde in the Philharmonic's "Tristan Project" last season, confirmed Sunday that she is well on her way to becoming the Brunnhilde of choice. But what a concept - some poached salmon, a good Riesling, brownies and then the end of the world!