One of the few things everyone–and I do mean everyone–should do before they die is go to a stage production of a major opera by a world-class opera company. The San Francisco opera certainly qualifies for the latter, and Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre definitely fits the former. Last Saturday my wife and I had the pleasure of witnessing such a production. Even though we were way, way up on the second balcony, the acoustics were remarkably good. The performance was marvelous.
Wagner is sometimes viewed as something of a bombast and even a stereotype, but that stereotype is indirect evidence of what a defining presence he is in the world of opera. Die Walküre (The Valkyrie) is the second of four operas of Wagner’s cycle Der Ring des Niebelungen (The Ring of the Niebelung), an extended recasting of German mythology and folklore woven into a remarkable story of power, greed, love, obligation, and consequences. Myth is powerful. It’s human, and it is something we tend to misunderstand and underestimate.
Also a huge “Thank you” to cousin Theodore for the tickets, and to all the other members of my extended family who were part of the meet-up before and during the show. Most of these people I had either never met, or hadn’t seen in at least 20-30 years. That’s way too long to have been out of touch with such great people.