Saturday, 28 December 2013

In the beginning was the word.  And the word was Rheingold.  And verily, beer moved around the idea, and with the help of a clockwork frog and a truly terrifying Hawaiian shirt, a successful little drag show took form.  So successful, we hauled it out of retirement a year later at the special request of The Wagner Society.

That’s more or less how it happened, anyway. Give or take a beer or two. Ben would argue that it was Robert’s idea to do the whole Ring, and sadly Robert’s not here to argue the toss any longer, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Ben’s telling the truth on this one.  Robert loved a good robust discussion, however, so I wouldn’t put it past him to have a pop at this one from beyond the grave.

Anyway, whose idea it wasn’t doesn’t really matter. If putting the whole thing on with zero cash and relying on the goodwill and overdrafts of emerging Wagnerians wasn’t batshit enough, tailoring the busy schedules of people who were already good enough to have rammed diaries elsewhere would make you want to do something much easier with the rest of your life. Like staple jelly to the ceiling. Blindfolded. Wearing boxing gloves. Wearing a suit made out of live cats. Live hungry cats. With an attitude problem.

So here we are. Post-Rheingold, post-Walkure, post-Siegfried, and despite the most extraordinarily creative catalogue of near-disasters imaginable, post an exceptionally rewarding and well-received Gotterdammerung. And we’re doing it all again.

Mr Wotan Pope and I started putting Walkure back on its feet just before Christmas.  We were absolutely on top of it. This may contain lies. Actually, the staging was fine, and bizarrely, the shape of the music makes better sense in our heads than it did 18 months ago. I think that’s approaching the teenage Brunnhilde from the point of view of the woman, and the still powerful Wotan from the point of view of Siegfried’s derelict tramp of a Wanderer. I don’t think the words will be that far behind.  Gotterdammerung will (hopefully) stay in my head, and Siegfried was only a year ago, so I’m sure it’s still there somewhere.

But anyway. We’re off. Out of the starting gates, riding crop at the ready, and a loving combination of carrot and stick from Ben as always. Rheingold’s nearly done, Walkure’s blinking in confused wakefulness like some hibernating woodland creature, and January’s diary looks like the ramblings of the person you pray isn’t going to sit next to you on the bus.

Here we go. Two Ring Cycles. Sometimes even with a night off inbetween.  Bring it on.