Friday, August 21, 2009

The Last "Confession"

Well, it's official: I have seen the entire Ring cycle! I am no longer a Ring rookie!

On Wednesday, I saw Siegfried. I loved it! I was really excited to see Fafner, the dragon! I had seen him in a rehearsal a month ago, but couldn't wait to see him on stage, with all the lighting and the singers! And I wasn't disappointed - I loved the parts with Fafner, especially when Siegfried fights him!

My favorite part, though, was right after Siegfried kills Fafner, when Mime comes to talk to Siegfried. I loved how Siegfried can see right through Mime - he hears what Mime really means, not the words that are actually coming out of his mouth. I wish I could hear what people are really saying to me! It's a very funny scene - it was very interesting and different to watch a funny part in an opera! Most audience members seemed to be used to the sophisticated and serious opera style, so I didn't hear many loud chuckles coming from the seats (only small snickers...).

Then on Friday I saw Gotterdammerung, the finale in the Ring cycle. I was a little bit nervous going into it, because it's the longest out of the four operas and I had to be at McCaw Hall a couple hours early to do some last-minute shooting (it was a combined 8-hour opera day!). But once I got in my seat, I was ready for the show!

I loved how Gotterdammerung uses more people on stage than any of the other three operas. There are probably about 20-30 people on stage at the same time at one point, during the double-wedding! There was such a different feeling in the room then - having so many more people on stage really gives the show a completely different energy!

Gotterdammerung was the opera that struck up the most emotion in me. I got pretty angry and frustrated when Gunther - or Siegfried, disguised as Gunther - takes Brunnhilde from her ledge and tries to force her to marry him. And then when Brunnhilde hears that Siegfried is there - and marrying Gertrune! - I immediately felt for Brunnhilde. I felt terrible for her! I can't ever imagine that happening to me! Luckily I wasn't sitting in the front row, or I would've climbed up onto the stage and fought with Siegfried and Gunther!

I also loved the scene when Siegfried dies. I know it sounds terrible that I liked the part where the hero gets killed, but it's just a beautiful scene! The lighting on the stage, combined with the staging of the chorus men, made it such an aesthetically pleasing and emotionally moving scene.

But the best part of all was the ending! So many people had told me at the intermissions that the end is amazing and I should look forward to it. And it was! All the projections of fire and water onto a huge scrim on the stage looked so cool! It reminded me of the tornado scene in the Wizard of Oz, when all of the different characters are flying around, and you don't exactly know what's going on, it's kind of like a dream! Everything on stage kept changing - all the sudden the stage would look completely different - different characters, different projections, different sets. It was so mesmerizing!

When I wasn’t sitting at the edge of my seat watching the show, I was out in the first tier lobby talking to all of you! Thanks so much to everyone who came to talk to me! I learned a lot about other productions of the Ring cycle that you’ve seen – it was unanimous that the Seattle Opera production is an amazing one! Although I haven’t seen any other production of the Ring (yet), I feel privileged to have seen one of the best! You all gave me great advice – what other operas I should see, what parts of the Ring I should cry at, what books I should read about the Ring – you covered everything! I also talked to some of you who have seen the Ring cycle more times than I can count on my fingers and toes combined! I talked to one of you who’s seen the Ring cycle over 50 times! It’s amazing what a large and dedicated following the Ring cycle has. It was almost like I was talking to Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movie fans, who show up to the premieres hours early to get a spot in line. Although I was surprised not to see anyone dressed up as any of the Ring characters…!

I will definitely miss having all of you come and talk to me, and especially having the cameras follow me around! It felt like Disneyland having everyone wait in line to talk to me at intermission – it was so much fun!

And I actually will miss going to the opera every other night – it’s such a great excuse to get dressed up and feel sophisticated! Not to mention, I actually enjoyed the performances! I’ll have to admit, I was tired when it was over, ready to throw on some sweatpants and lay on the couch – but the next day I woke up ready to do it all again!

I feel accomplished, having completed my first Ring cycle. I feel more cultured, worldly – not many people my age can say they’ve sat through 16 hours of opera in one week! I think if I can do that, I can do almost anything! I’ve learned through this whole process that there’s actually a lot of things out there that I don’t normally think about – as a college student, I sometimes think I’ve got the world figured out – I know what’s out there, what there is to do on weekends. But this opera experience has opened my eyes to the fact that there really are a bunch of things out there that I don’t know much about that I might really enjoy! So I am going to continue exploring and discovering new things!

This “Confessions” project was a definite success. Not only did I enjoy the operas, but my friends have actually become intrigued by this type of performance media as well. Many of my friends came up to me the week of the performances and said, “I wish I could come with you to the opera!” So maybe now they’ll be motivated to go see an opera, even if I’m not there to drag them along! Maybe they won’t dive in head first and start out with the Ring cycle – but, hey, as long as even at least one more person my age goes to one opera, I think we can count this as a success!

I am definitely going to see more operas in my future. I don’t know where, when, or which operas, but I know I’ll see some! And I’m always open to suggestions!

As a closing event for the “Confessions” project, my friends and I returned to Varlamos (where the first “Confessions” shoot of the whole summer took place!) to eat calzones and reminisce about my adventures with the Ring cycle this summer. The Reel Grrls, once again, tagged along, and made us all feel like reality TV stars! It was a bittersweet moment – having the last “Confessions” shoot! I was actually pretty sad!

Thanks so much to everyone who’s followed me along this whole project – anyone who’s read one of my blog posts, watched one of the “Confessions” episodes, or talked to me at intermission – I’ve had so much fun! I’m definitely going to miss it. School's going to seem so boring compared to this! I don't think I'll be flying in a harness or doing stunts in knee pads in my classes this year...! I’m even considering setting up a confession booth in my room, so that I can keep vlogging about my life – it’s nice to be able to sit and ramble on about my life to the camera!

And to everyone out there who’s my age, or anywhere close to it – definitely go try out the opera! I think you’d be pleasantly surprised! And I found out the other day that Seattle Opera has $20 day-of-show student rush tickets! So you don’t even have to go broke (which college students always appreciate)!

Thanks again for listening! I’ll miss you all! Tweet me or Facebook me if you have any more advice for me, or any suggestions for operas I should go see!


  1. What a perfect account of the final stage. QB rocks! ;)

  2. Hallo, Cassidy et al!
    If you want to see a different "Ring" set in módern times, but equally werktreu, go to Lübeck (north of Hamburg, Germany).
    Win H.

  3. I loved your energetic and enthusiastic videos and messages. As someone from another state, I was delighted to see all the things Seattle Opera does to make people welcome and generate appreciation for the Ring cycle. Thank you, Cassidy, for being such a great part of what has been a terrific experience.

  4. Hi Cassidy,
    I thought you might be interested to know that there are actually 78 on stage for the double wedding in Gotterdammerung of which 73 are singers. Backing them up in the pit are 89 orchestra players plus the Conductor.