Thursday, March 29, 2012

Operatic epic comes to the silver screen

After introducing it piecemeal across two seasons, the Metropolitan Opera will bring Richard Wagner's monumental "The Ring of the Nibelung" to movie theaters in sequence in May.

Tickets go on sale Friday, March 30, to Wagner's four-opera saga of gods and gold. The Charlotte showings, according to the theater listing, will only be at Stonecrest near Ballantyne -- skipping the usual other option for the Met, Concord Mills.

The original high-definition relays, live from New York, were spread from October 2010 to last February. Obviously, that blocked the story's sweep. Now, Wagner lovers -- or any intrepid souls with a taste for monumental yarns -- can take in the whole "Ring" in a 10-day period.

The Met will preface the cycle with "Wagner's Dream," a documentary film about the creation of the Met's "Ring" -- which was an epic unto itself.

The staging, by Canadian director Robert LePage, is built around a 45-ton set consisting of giant metal planks manipulated by computer. As the four dramas unfold, it takes a myriad of forms -- sometimes becoming the screen for video projections of forests, mountain peaks and the final, flaming apocalypse.

The contraption also malfunctioned before the original broadcast of "The Valkyrie," delaying the start by about 45 minutes. But that won't be a problem at the re-broadcasts. Here's the schedule:

"Wagner's Dream": 6:30 p.m. May 7. Running time: 1 hours, 52 minutes.

"The Rhine Gold": 6:30 p.m. May 9. Running time: 168 minutes with no intermission.

"The Valkyrie": 6:30 p.m. May 14. Running time: 259 minutes including one intermission.

"Siegfried": 6:30 p.m. May 16. Running time: 258 minutes including one intermission.

"Twilight of the Gods": noon May 19. Running time: 287 minutes including one intermission. (Photo by Ken Howard for the Metropolitan Opera.)

You'll notice that the last three evenings have been condensed a little, so that there's just one intermission for showings that are four hours-plus. Be ready to sit!


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