Over the next several months (perhaps years, we’ll see) I planÂ to write a series of essays on Wagner’s Ring. Though it is comprised of four operas (Das Rheingold, Die WalkÃ¼re, Siegfried, and GÃ¶tterdÃ¤mmerung) it is one organic work. To begin I will lay the groundwork by providing a synopsis of each opera. There are many synopses available already (the Metropolitan Opera web site is a good source), but most are too brief for my purposes. These will appear at irregular intervals and often out of order. The first offering is Act I of Die WalkÃ¼re.
Just what I need! I just became an Opera fan recently as a result of reading your blog. I started with dvd’s of La bohÃ¨me (James Levine at MET) and Wagner’s Ring (also James Levine at MET). I really enjoyed La bohÃ¨me the first time through; but for some reason it takes several viewings for me to really get into and enjoy Wagner’s Opera’s. I am sure your series will be beneficial to me.
I’m glad to hear your are discovering the world of opera. Stick with the Ring. Six months from now you will wonder how you ever lived without it. In the meantime, try some of Wagner’s earlier operas (Dutchman, TannhÃ¤user, Lohengrin) or his later work, Meistersinger. They are all more accessible than the Ring (and much more so than Tristan and Parsifal). Of the early ones, Lohengrin is generally considered the best, but I prefer TannhÃ¤user.
Make sure you also start working through the Mozart operas as well. Figaro is as close to a perfect opera as it gets, but all a great.