Step into 'The Ring' and get ready to rumble
Readers of Culture Monster know that if you've seen the first installment of Achim Freyer's staging of the "Ring" cycle at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, you definitely have an opinion about it. Don't believe us? Look at the comments here.
Speaking for the thumbs-down majority, various posts from readers have described "Das Rheingold" as "incomprehensible, pretentious, idiotic, undramatic"; something akin to a "Monty Python scene"; "Eddie Murphy playing Gumby comes to mind, and this is Wotan, the top God"; or the succinct "lame." On the thumbs-up side, one reader wrote: "Are they still using horned helmets in Seattle? Is that really what you want to see in 2009? Good grief people!"
However you spin "The Ring," there's one group of opera-goers who feel particularly passionate: the "Wagnerites," a.k.a. " 'Ring' nuts," a.k.a. those who travel from one production to the next, rooting for Wagner's works no matter how wildly envisioned.
In today's Arts & Books section, David Mermelstein takes a look at several Wagnerites, including Sherwin Sloan, a retired eye surgeon who has seen 87 "Ring" cycles and heads the Wagner Society of Southern California.
And keep checking Culture Monster for more reaction (or give us your own), considering the next installment of the Los Angeles Opera production, "Die Walküre," opens Saturday.
-- Scott Sandell
Above: Sherwin Sloan of the Wagner Society of Southern California. Credit: Christine Cotter/Los Angeles Times