Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
When I mentioned to friends that I had bought tickets to Der Ring Des Niebelungen at the Met, the general reaction has been something along the lines of: "I could never sit through that." I hear where they're coming from. The Ring is a big commitment: four Saturdays out of five, nearly 20 hours in all. And, believe me, there are long stretches in which it seems as if nothing's happening, or is just recapitulation.
But, my God, what a payoff at the end: the male chorus in Act II; Siegfried's Funeral Music; Brunnhilde's Immolation Scene. This is music on an epic scale, the significance of which is difficult to overstate. But, the only way to truly appreciate the magnitude of Wagner's achievement is to see and hear it for yourself.
Fortunately, there are two more complete performances of the Ring, taking place this week and next. Sure, it's expensive and hopelessly sold out, but show up on the plaza 1/2 hour before curtain time, carry cash, and you might just get lucky. Believe me, it will be well worth your time, and money.