Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

More Ring Than You'll Ever Be

November 04, 2008

Scene form Die Walküre
Photo: LAO 2008

Never let it be said that Los Angeles is a city that doesn’t know how to roll out a media campaign. Even though the economic chips may be down across the country, Los Angeles Opera’s got tickets to sell for it’s upcoming Ring cycle in 2010. We subscribers got our ticket order solicitations this week and with prices ranging from around $350 to $2200 dollars a seat (including a 30-50% “contribution portion”, natch), it’s time for the company to bring it. And bring it they did on Monday with a pre-election news conference involving a wide variety of local political and arts leaders, including Placido Domingo, to tout the “Ring Festival” – a wide ranging collaboration between the company and numerous music, theater, cultural, academic, and other institutions in the city who will be presenting a variety of Wagner-related programming from May through June 2010 during the company’s run of three complete cycles. (Cycles that I might add that are stretched out over 8 or 9 days instead of 6, I assume, to maximize the number of weekendish evenings in each run for a town that does not like driving in from the hinterlands on a school night.)

Scene from Götterdämmerung
Photo: LAO 2008

Of course, despite all the wattage of Eli Broad and Zev Yaroslavsky, the devil remains in the details with the specifics of contributions from the city’s major arts organizations including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Center Theater Group, and several others still TBA. True, we're talking about nearly two years off in the future, but as Mr. Obama will tell you, you’ve got to plan ahead. At this stage, most of what we’ve got firm commitments on are several lecture series, a performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Helicopter Quartet, and at least two (count ’em!) screenings of Tony Palmer’s 1983 biopic Wagner starring Richard Burton for those of you who’ve so ardently ignored the VHS tape crying out to you from the shelves of CineFile Video lo these many years. It’s L.A. baby, and it is always about the sacred and the profane.

Scene form Das Rheingold
Photo: LAO 2008

Despite the obvious question marks, I think the festival is actually not a bad idea, though making the city the center of the universe for all things Wagner for a few weeks may still be a bit of a stretch. But no matter how you slice it, as more and more images of the Achim Freyer staging creep up on-line, it seems certain that no matter what else happens, the operas themselves will not be boring. I've included the latest releases of pictures here and I encourage you to take a look at LAO's copious new web site for more on the topic.

Scene from Götterdämmerung
Photo: LAO 2008

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