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KCRW-FM to broadcast 'The Ring and I'

June 9, 2010 |  6:11 pm


Los Angeles Opera's production of "The Ring of the Nibelung" is a challenging and artistically far-out staging that is likely to be confusing for newcomers to the 19-hour (including intermissions) epic cycle.

So where can beginners go to get their feet wet in Richard Wagner's Rhine River? A good place to start is the radio program "The Ring and I" that KCRW-FM (89.9) will broadcast on Sunday at 11 a.m. The show, which originally aired on WNYC, was created to coincide with the Metropolitan Opera's "Ring" cycle in 2004.

"The Ring and I: The Passion, the Myth, the Mania" features interviews with a number of notable operatic and cultural figures including Tony Kushner and Howard Shore. Also featured in the show are Seattle Opera's Speight Jenkins, New Yorker critic Alex Ross, Jungian psychologist Laurie Layton Schapia and guitarist Gary Lucas.

The Met's "Ring" was directed by Otto Schenk, who brought a literal interpretation of the cycle to the New York stage. The opera company retired the production last season and will start debuting a new "Ring" directed by Robert Lepage next season.

L.A. Opera's production is directed by Achim Freyer, a Berlin-based visual artist and experimental stage director. His colorfully abstract interpretation eschews narrative storytelling and, as a result, has divided audiences and critics. Even two of the lead singers have expressed dissatisfaction with the staging.

"The Ring and I" attempts to demystify Wagner's epic while also highlighting the opera's connections to pop culture and rock music.

-- David Ng

Photo: A scene from the L.A. Opera's production of "Siegfried." Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times


Full coverage of 'Ring' cycle

L.A. Opera's 'Ring' cycle may be in the red