After Tuesday's NY Phil concert with Semyon Bychkov leading the U.S. Premiere of Thomas Larcher's colorful, surprisingly tonal Symphony No. 2 "Kenotaph", I took a chance and walked across Lincoln Center Plaza to the Met, just as Die Walküre, the second installment of Richard Wagner's monumental opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen - was letting out for its second intermission.
Sure enough, a patron who had had enough for one night - Die Walküre runs five hours, not including curtain calls - offered me her ticket in the Grand Tier, which is how I got to see all of Act 3: the Ride of the Valkyries, the long duet between Wotan and Brünnhilde, the Magic Fire music. As I said when the Met last staged the Ring in 2012, this Robert Lepage production - and it's 40 ton machine - is a bit hit-and-miss, but the music, as performed by the mighty Met Orchestra under the brilliant conductor Philippe Jordan, is breathtaking. (Jordan is currently Music Director of two of the biggest opera houses in the world: the Paris Opera and the Vienna State Opera.) As for the singers, home grown soprano Christine Goerke is a force of nature as Brünnhilde, her voice easily carrying over the orchestra. Bass Michael Volle is a menacing, almost terrifying Wotan, while soprano Eva Maria Westrbroek fortified her position as the world's leading Sieglinde.
Tickets for the remainder of this cycle, as well as cycle 3 next week, are all gone, but you can take your chances at the box office on returns. Or, maybe just show up a few hours late and hold up a finger. You'll be glad you did.