Ring Festival: 'Invisible Siegfrieds' are more invisible than expected
For four days, the “Invisible Siegfrieds,” who were part of composer Georg Nussbaumer’s innovative Ring project “Invisible Siegfrieds Marching Sunset Boulevard,” marched down Sunset Boulevard, pulling a cart on which alto Christina Ascher sat, hidden behind a silver awning. The appearance of the helmeted Siegfrieds along with the strange sounds deriving from Ascher -- who was listening to "The Ring" over headphones and only accompanied specific tones of the opera -- put many passersby into a state of astonishment. The reactions were versatile, from people stopping and taking photographs to a driver rolling down her window, playing “Die Wallküre” full blast.
The event ended Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. at Will Rogers State Beach in front of Gladstone's. CNN was there along with about 30 people who participated in the last part of the project ("Horn! Drop! Drink!") and watched Ascher, dressed as the Statue of Liberty, sing into the surf.
Participation was less than expected. “I’m a bit surprised about the low number of 'Invisible Siegfrieds' we were able to recruit,” Nussbaumer said. “About 50 people said they would come, but none of them appeared. I thought that in a metropolitan city we would find at least ten people marching with us, because then the interplay between silence and singing would have been more effective. It’s also a pity, because artists could have had a truly unique and interesting experience.“
The Viennese composer had been invited to create the project as part of Ring Festival LA by Villa Aurora, a center of German American culture in Pacific Palisades. A former artist-in-residence at Villa Aurora, Nussbaumer named the event after the hero of Wagner's four-opera cycle "Der Ring des Nibelungen."
Photo: Franz Quirchtmayr models one of the helmets worn in "Invisible Siegfrieds Marching Sunset Boulevard." Credit: Simone Kussatz / For The Times