Monday, July 02, 2018


Sunday morning, thanks to a mixture of coastal fog and ashy smoke from wildfires near Lake Berryessa, the morning light looked like the end of the world. The photo above is the San Francisco Opera House, sepia toned by nature. Sunday was also the final performance of Götterdämmerung, the last of four operas in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, and it seemed appropriate to attend a five-and-a-half hour opera that climaxes with the End of the World.

I joined 200 hardcore Wagnerites in standing room, including Charlise the Opera Tattler dressed as a Rhinemaiden above. She has now permanently won Ring Iron Woman status after attending all three cycles this month and in 2011.

I saw that entire 2011 cycle when the magnificent Nina Stemme gave one of the greatest performances in opera history during her role debut as Brunnhilde. The cast this time around was outstanding by all accounts, though nobody is ever going to replace Stemme in my memory. The production itself is aging well, visually striking and directed so you can clearly follow the characters. The real star was the entire orchestra led by former Music Director Donald Runnicles. Gosh, I miss him.

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