If you know what that means, and you live in Canada, then you probably know that this week the Canadian Opera Company is performing Wagner’s Ring Cycle in its entirety for the first time in Canada. That’s 20 hours (including much-needed intermissions) of gods and horned maidens over four nights, starting tomorrow. And you can listen to it all on CBC Radio Two via radio, satellite, or internet.
Despite the fact that my sister is an opera singer, I know next to nothing about opera. (Pathetic, I know.) I have seen one full-production opera live (Gounod’s Faust) and it blew me away, but for some reason I never caught the bug. However, I think my interest in literature is making me more susceptible now. Yesterday I heard the briefest of summaries of the Ring Cycle and I was thrilled by the epic scale and mythological power of the story. Now I have to hear it!
Luckily for non-opera buffs, the CBC has put together a thorough (and lovely) web companion complete with summaries of the operas, sound clips, and a link to the librettos (with English translations). The Canadian Opera Company website also has further explanation of the mythological background of the operas. So, who’s with me? Let’s ride with the Valkyries!