Monday, June 27, 2011

Heading out to San Francisco...

By Guest Blogger Jeff Nytch

Well, friends, I'm ready to head to the airport and begin my journey to San Francisco for this week's production of the Ring. I thought I'd begin by thanking Taminophile Blogmeister David Browning for inviting me to share my experience with all of you as I take in one of the great monuments of operatic culture (if not Western culture in general).

I was speaking with a friend last week who wished me "courage" as I embarked on my first, full, Live, Ring production. At first I thought that was a curious sentiment, but the more I thought about it the more I could understand where he was coming from. At somewhere in the neighborhood of 14-15 hours in length (not counting intermissions, and depending on the tempi of the conductor) and taking four nights to traverse, a complete performance of Der Ring des Nibelungen is indeed a huge undertaking. But more than its size is its emotional heft, the sheer vastness of its canvass -- physically, emotionally, dramatically, spiritually. Indeed, it is not for the faint of heart.

Still, as I prepare for my journey and look ahead to tomorrow night's Rheingold (which Wagner called, "A Preliminary Evening to the Festival Play"), I'm feeling more giddy excitement than anything else. I can't seem to get Ives's song about the opera, the first of his "Two Memories," out of my head. If you don't know it, it's sung at a breathless pace and captures the joy of a little kid (or, in this case today, an adult) anxiously awaiting the curtain:

We're sitting in the opera house,
the opera house, the opera house,
We're waiting for the curtain to arise
With joy and wonders for our eyes,
A feeling of expectancy,
A certain kind of ecstasy,
Expectancy and ecstasy,
Expectancy and ecstasy,

See you tomorrow in San Francisco!

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