Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Audio Introduction to DAS RHEINGOLD

Photo by Michael BakerI'm Jonathan Dean, translator of English captions for Seattle Opera and a big fan of both the beautiful Pacific Northwest and the music of Richard Wagner. I'll be giving lectures in McCaw Hall before each performance this summer, and have created a series of audio trailers so you can find out what my "Overtures to the Opera" will be like. You can download these as podcasts at the iTunes Store, or listen to them on this blog over the next couple of days.

Here's my 5 and a 1/2-minute trailer for Das Rheingold:


  1. Needed: A 90 sec to 2 min Introduction.

    I am getting some looks from coworkers about this suspicious 17 hour opera thing.

    Is there a good, dramatic intro for people who are most certainly not opera fans?

    Something that shows this is not just a fat lady with horns caterwauling at the whatever. Some thing beyond, "Kill the wabit?"


  2. I think the most dramatic brief intro, in a word-of-mouth situation, is simply for you to tell your friends/family/colleagues what excites or interests you about this (or any) opera. There's nothing as interesting as a person who's interested in something.

    Keep in mind, though, 'brief' is not a word that generally gets applied to anything Wagnerian! And the more you omit, cut, and shrink it down to help people with a clock ticking loudly inside their minds, the more these operas become a ludicrous parody of themselves. Most people who love Wagner's operas love the vast scale, the unhurried pace, the richness and complexity of all this poetry. music, drama, myth, history, politics, psychology, philosophy all squished into one--not to mention the oddly timeless experience of attending a Wagner opera, like pressing 'pause' on your watch and stepping outside of time for an evening.

  3. I understand your point about Wagner not being brief. I also understand your point about parody. But talking about parody, without it, the only opera I am going to hear until showtime is, KILL THE WABIT!

    What's Opera Doc?

  4. Hallo, AB (& Jon)!
    Too bad non-"Ring"-ticket-holders can't attend your pre-performance lectures; that would probably cure their misunderstandings about the riviting relevance of Wagner's cycle!!
    P.S. I'm glad someone else (i.e. AB) also reads this superb blogsite!!