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Lizbie1

Royal Opera: Ring Cycle

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5 minutes ago, ninamargaret said:

in the good old days of The Ring at ENO i used to prepare a Ring Supper for husband and self to enjoy in the interval. A nice salad, dessert and a good bottle were all consumed in the auditorium, and we were by no means the only ones doing it. I think it would be frowned on now - and certainly not when I go to The Ring at ROH this autumn! But having seen their prices for a 'package' of dinners for that production i suspect there will be many surreptitious packets of sandwiches appearing!

 

Do we expect them to publish timings for the long intervals any time soon? It would be pretty useful to be able to make off-site dinner reservations.

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49 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

Do we expect them to publish timings for the long intervals any time soon? It would be pretty useful to be able to make off-site dinner reservations.

They should be able to tell you now, after all it's not a new production. 

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No way of knowing if they'll make any changes but here are the timings from 2012:

 

Das Rheingold 

150 minutes 

No Interval

 

Die Walküre

Act 1 67 minutes

Interval 30 minutes

Act II 95 minutes

Interval 80 minutes

Act III 73 minutes

 

Siegfried

Act 1 85 minutes

Interval 30 minutes

Act II 80 minutes

Interval 75 minutes

Act III 90 minutes

 

Götterdämmerung

Act 1 122 minutes

Interval 40 minutes

Act II 67 minutes

Interval 75 minutes

Act III 80 minutes

 

Note to moderators:  maybe these Ring postings should be moved to the Opera and Music forum?

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6 hours ago, Bluebird said:

Note to moderators:  maybe these Ring postings should be moved to the Opera and Music forum?

 

Done :)

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Out of interest, does anyone know how these timings compare to Bayreuth?

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It's many years since I last saw a Ring Cycle at the Royal Opera House and have booked for the Autumn.  I was surprised how long the intervals are and saw that in the early 1990s the intervals were 35 or 40 minutes.  I hadn't quite appreciated the length of the longer intervals but it certainly gives me plenty of time to enjoy supper in one sitting  - La Ballerina rather than in house I think.

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1 hour ago, CHazell2 said:

Why such long intervals?

 

For dinner, simple as that!

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Given the prices quoted by the ROH for their meal packages I would think.La Ballerina will be well and truly packed out! Think I'll take a crafty sandwich and hope no one notices.

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During the last full Ring cycle at ROH we frequented Zizzi.  They were very good at getting us all seated, served and finished within the hour.  We did try once at Wildwood which wasn't great.

 

(The Opera North Ring at the Southbank Centre was great, because two of the three long evenings coincided with market days at the Southbank Market, so we were able to avail ourselves of a variety of excellent seafood.)

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3 hours ago, RuthE said:

During the last full Ring cycle at ROH we frequented Zizzi.  They were very good at getting us all seated, served and finished within the hour.

 

Did you book ahead? I'm wondering how geared up the local places will be to timings potentially being a bit off.

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Yes we did, though not far ahead - possibly on the day.  It was Cycle 2 if I recall correctly, so the ROH had had Cycle 1 to get timings right.  And this year it's Cycle 4 I'm attending so they really should know what they're doing by then!

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wish I was like a late friend of mine, who had been to Bayreuth when it was relatively cheap and easy to go to. He said he never needed food when seeing The Ring- - it distracted from the music! Sorry, but I need something to keep my body and soul together! I notice that all the reservations for interval meals for cycle 2, which is mine, are all fully booked so Zizzi etc should do a roaring trade. 

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Just recovering from seeing the second  cycle. Totally stunning with everyone in the cast on top form. Huge applause last night at the end of Gotterdamerung with virtually the whole audience standing. I wished the technical staff involved could also have been applauded - it's such a complex production it must be a nightmare to stage!

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Many thanks ninamargaret.  Looking forward immensely to the 4th cycle.  When you've recovered, please would you be able to confirm the timings Bluebird's post above was for 2012?

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9 hours ago, JohnS said:

Many thanks ninamargaret.  Looking forward immensely to the 4th cycle.  When you've recovered, please would you be able to confirm the timings Bluebird's post above was for 2012?

Those timings are pretty accurate, in fact for this run they were very slightly quicker, except for Gotterdamerung act 3 which was 5mins longer. Rheingold finished 2205, Valkyrie 1020, Siegfried 2100 {Sunday performance so started at 1500) and Gotterdamerung 1020,plus thunderous and very deserved applause. Hope you'll enjoy it, I loved it and feel quite sad now that it's over.

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On ‎10‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 09:55, ninamargaret said:

I wished the technical staff involved could also have been applauded - it's such a complex production it must be a nightmare to stage!

 

I heard (via Sarah Connolly's Twitter feed) that there was a technical hitch in the first cycle's Walkure which caused a slightly lengthened interval - the fire devices have to be tested and are prone to not doing what they are supposed to.  I think she must have been talking about the flame thingy that comes down the spiral track when Wotan summons Loge - which I remember causing problems in previous runs of the production.

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It can be very temperamental.  I saw a Gotterdamerung in the last run where Valhalla was no more than lightly scorched at the end

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1 hour ago, Lindsay said:

It can be very temperamental.  I saw a Gotterdamerung in the last run where Valhalla was no more than lightly scorched at the end

That didn't happen this time!  I was sitting on the extreme side of the SC and I could really feel the heat. Very impressive.

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As part of another discussion on the Forum I wrote recently:

 

>>Just one recent example: last Monday's opening of Act 3 of Gotterdammerung. The (sadly so often awful, lazy) brass section led off with some horns who even for them were really not bothering. Half the amphitheatre burst out into exactly the sort of pure natural instinctive laughter any career comedian would be delighted by. This sound no doubt reached at least the ears of the conductor, and perhaps led later to some firm words and a bit of practising (even if not, as I would counsel, some re-auditioning and perhaps early retirement). 

 

However I am wondering whether my long-held view about that section might need an adjustment. There was recently rather a thoughtful and informed review of the same show, followed by comments ditto, on a New York-based website. Deep in the comments they start discussing the brass section in Gotterdammerung (which the reviewer had picked on)

 

http://disq.us/p/1wbizjg

 

If one reads the comments from this point, the issue does seem to be somewhat more complicated. Are there any horn players on the Forum who feel like adding their thoughts?

 

Edited by Geoff

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I would be more sympathetic if the brass were exemplary in non-Wagner performances but they are really not.

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Half way through the Ring I made a couple of comments on the new ROH thread which I thought I'd copy here and add some thoughts about Siegfried.

Fabulous Walkure, particularly Acts 2 and 3 - not the best Sieglinde/Hunding so Act 1 was not great and I'd been slightly disappointed by Rheingold as I felt very little sympathy for any characters and there wasn't that much differentiation between singers/volumes.  But Walkure Acts 2 and 3 were special - Nina Stemme (after her opening Ho jo to hos) and John Lundgren outstanding.  And so good to see the production stripped down to essentials in Act 3 where less is definitely more - some of Rheingold and the earlier Walkure Acts just seemed a little too busy/fussy.

I very much enjoyed Siegfried - musical and gymnastic highlight was Heather Engebretson's Woodbird, effortlessly hitting all the notes, with gorgeous ringing tone, and capturing the essence of the bird high above the stage in the air turning somersaults whilst singing or hopping about on stage and from rung to rung above the trench.  I enjoyed much of the production with plenty of food for thought - how did Alberich sustain such an injury to his arm, not just his finger when losing the ring in Rheingold?  Loved the various animals.  The various confrontations were riveting - Wanderer/Mime; Alberich/Mime; Wanderer/Erda; Wanderer/Siegfried.  I thought the production rather gave up for the start of the final scene with no depiction at all of Siegfried's ascent of Brunnhilde's rock - had Siegfried simply gone to sleep?  I know I often find less is more but there seemed to be nothing here.  However, a fabulous Siegfried/Brunnhilde awakening.  Nina Stemme is peerless.  I admired much of Stefan Vinke's Siegfried and he has massive stamina, sailing through forging Notung.  But I'd have preferred more contrast in the reflective passages - not helped by the oafish characterisation where Siegfried is several sandwiches short of a picnic, albeit superstrong and fearless (until meeting Brunnhilde).  

Looking forward very much to this afternoon's Gotterdammerung.

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Fabulous ending to the Ring with the full orchestra on stage for the final curtain calls - a wonderfully musical performance with the orchestra and Antonio Pappano in scintillating form.  Rhinemaidens, Norns and Waltraute all magnificent, singing and in character.  Hagen and Siegfried able to project with ease over the orchestra.  I don't think there's anything else that can be said about Nina Stemme's Brunnhilde - superlative Wagner singing and I'm just so pleased to have seen and heard her live.

Much to enjoy in the production and I wish I'd seen it more than once but I did find I was left with a number of questions.  This was the first Ring I'd seen where Wotan kills Erda, one of the most unexpected and genuinely shocking scenes, and I'm not persuaded if there is any rationale for the murder (and I'm afraid it was so dark at the start of the Prologue to Gotterdammerung that I couldn't tell it was Erda's body in the chair and spent some time wondering if this was Wotan and I was very pleased when a neighbour was able to put me right).  I was surprised Hagen killed Siegfried with Nothung having sworn the oath on his spear.  I found it a bit odd that Brunnhilde's rock setting was so different each time we returned and the Gotterdammerung Act 1 final scene rock seemed simply a variation on the Gibichungs' hall.  At times I wondered if the Gibichung hall (and Brunnhilde's rock the final time) were inside the tarnhelm given the similar designs.  But I did very much like how Siegfried and Gunther acted out the deception of Brunnhilde using the tarnhelm.  I thought Alberich's arm hadn't got any worse between Siegfried and Gotterdammerung so any notions of gangrene etc from the wound when Wotan seized the ring way back in Rheingold were perhaps misplaced although Alberich was now very much dependent on an inhaler/oxygen.

A couple of real strengths in the production - the ensemble detail (both singing and acting) clearly evident from proper rehearsal, the Rhinemaidens being particularly strong, morphing from would be schoolgirl temptresses of Siegfried to back to nature pure Rhinemaidens at the end with the Ring returned to the Rhine.  And I very much welcomed the optimistic promise of renewal at the very end given the appalling actions we'd seen over the previous 15 hours or so.

A hugely enjoyable Ring, made more so by neighbours sharing their enthusiasms and expertise.  And I thought a real bargain - a very slightly restricted seat in the Balcony because of a safety rail (A53 central block and an aisle seat), less than half the price of my immediate neighbour's seat.

 

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I completely agree about the killing of Erda. It makes no sense, especially when you consider that the Norns' wisdom comes from her. Surely they would have noticed that she was dead and that the newsfeed wasn't being updated? I also found the rapprochement of Brunnhilde and Gutrune  absurd, why would a vengeful ex-Valkyrie comfort the 'harlot' who had led her husband astray? 

How was Gunther? I saw the third cycle and his voice didn't seem to carry well.

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Re sustenance during the intervals, I had to go and forage during the second interval of Siegfried since I was beginning to feel weak. The truffled egg sandwiches in the Paul Hamlyn bar were really good, so much so that I chose them again for Goetterdaemerung. I think it was very kind of the ROH to provide  plenty of free water, a gracious gesture which I haven't so far seen anywhere else, certainly not at Bayreuth.

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1 hour ago, Aruna S said:

I also found the rapprochement of Brunnhilde and Gutrune absurd, why would a vengeful ex-Valkyrie comfort the 'harlot' who had led her husband astray?

 

I thought Brunnhilde's 'all knowing' persona at the end of Gotterdammerung allowed her to take the moral high ground - a very different Brunnhilde from the end of Act 2.

 

1 hour ago, Aruna S said:

How was Gunther?

 

Gunther is a pretty desperate part, such a weak character, and I think Markus Butter did reasonably well - other voices were stronger but he was audible throughout, even when up against Stemme, Vinke and Milling.  If anything I was a bit disappointed with Emily Magee's Sieglinde and Gutrune.

 

1 hour ago, Aruna S said:

 

Re sustenance during the intervals,

 

 

I think the ROH always provides water.  La Ballerina was very good for suppers during the long intervals - all tables taken and I was very happy to share mine.  

While I invariably find the ROH a friendly, sociable place, I'd forgotten quite how communal an experience it is attending a Ring cycle where the vast majority of people book the same seat for the whole cycle.

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