|From www.wagneropera.net: hi-tech Ring from the late 19th century|
Although not yet a slightly deranged pilgrim, I did check the Karl Böhm Ring (1966, Bayreuth, live) out of the university library this weekend. The poor young man who checked it out gaped in dismay as he tipped the discs in their neat paper slipcovers out of the battered case. "There are fourteen of them!" he exclaimed. "Yes." I tried to smile encouragingly. "You want all of them?" "Yes, please." It transpired that each individual disc had to be coaxed out of its sheath and checked out of the system. So while we worked at getting them out of their covers, I tried to make small talk. "It's four different operas," I said, "but they tell one overarching story." I suggested a narrative arc with expansive hand gestures. "Only a slightly crazy person would have come up with such an idea," I said; the young man laughed. "There's a curse, and love and death and power struggles, and it all ends with the end of the world." "Wow," said the helpful young man. "Are you going to listen to all of it?" "I'm going to try! Although not all at once." The young man shook his head in wonder. "Are you a teacher?" "Sort of," I said, "but this is for fun. I like the music," I explained. "It's... it's dense, but really exciting and... well, it's really exciting. It's my last pre-term indulgence." "Well, good," said the young man. "We all need a little indulgence. It's due on Monday; is that okay?" It has been a Wagner-saturated weekend. And that's absolutely okay.