Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Zing Cycle!

Today we continue our August run of guest bloggers. All opinions expressed in our guest posts are those of the author and not necessarily those of Seattle Opera. Please welcome Lynn Rosen and read on!

Blogger, reviewer, cultural anthropologist, fashionista, foodie, groupie here. After way too many years of sitting on the aisle as theatre/opera critic, I’ve taken leave of my senses, left academia and abandoned protocol to report on the public enthusiasm, exhibitionism, costuming, hair and make up that celebrates and reflects that which appears onstage.

Forget about the circus, Seattle Opera’s Ring cycle has got to be The Greatest Show on Earth. This spectacle far outshines the big top by incorporating theatre, symphony, ballet, fashion week and those glorious performers who use their magnificent voices as instruments. But what about animals? Indeed. There are three mermaids, a dragon and even a real horse! Seattle Opera’s Ring cycle lionizes the best of the musical, theatrical, choreographic, design and fashion worlds.

Tickets are scarce, but still available - some through the Ticket Office and some for a pricey fee on e-bay and Craig's list. Or, if you’re last-minute lucky, you could score a pair outside the entrance. The gentleman sitting next to us secured ONE ticket on the Internet and traveled to Seattle from Alabama to be a part of this amazing phenomenon.

The Ring audience is such a fashion hoot. Full-length fur coats, ball gowns, tuxedoes and tails to shorts, logging suspenders, hiking boots and t-shirts. Really. It's Seattle. Der Ring des Nibelungen has drawn a remarkably diverse community of “Ringers” from a reported 46 countries and 49 states. We've seen a Coptic Priest in full religious regalia, an elegant gentleman in a blue jalaba, and many lovely young things in barely anything at all. The audience is replete with fabulous folks, some in costume, others in "costume" and many in COSTUME!

There is also an eclectic, eccentric surge of a new generation of audience members - the fascinated and innocent, youngsters and newbies, first-timers and adventurers, schooled in tales of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings who have flocked here to find out whassup.

There’s a younger crowd in the audience and it has lent a vibrant spirit to the energy this season. Seattle Opera in its wisdom has instituted a remarkable new element this season – “Confessions of a First-Time Operagoer.” The host of the online video and blog is Cassidy Quinn Brettler, a 20 year-old college student who is wending her First-Time way through the throes of Der Ring. Check out her experiences at It’s cool and VERY popular.

Seattle Opera, also in its continued great wisdom, has anticipated this eclectic audience and provided a vast selection of festive and educational opportunities. Members of the orchestra brass are sprinkled about the lobbies tooting familiar tunes as operagoers relish, sway, hum, take pictures and even quasi-conduct the music. Patrons arrive hours before curtain to listen to lectures, picnic, dine, shop, visit, gossip, people-watch and mill about with glasses of special Barnard and Griffin Rhineland Label and steal appreciative glimpses of others in their fineries. The atmosphere is one of festival, celebration. Nothing at all dreary or serious about any of it.

The Seattle Opera’s Ring cycle appeals to everyone. It’s wonderfully energizing to be in the midst of it and enjoy the grande abandon of fans of all ages and approaches in all their individual wardrobe choices thronging to the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall.

Hoo-hah! Words cannot express the joy, the enthusiasm, the electricity, and the overwhelming audience appreciation for Seattle Opera’s Ring cycle. Pundits and professorial experts weigh in with interpretation and opinion. Critics and professionals travel from around the globe to absorb the wondrous Ring production that IS Seattle Opera. Maybe we should call it The Zing Cycle!


Lynn Rosen, a member of the international American Theatre Critics Association, is an Emmy-award-winning broadcaster, travel writer, photographer and journalist.

1 comment:

  1. For you (and your ilk) more like the Bling cycle. Fashion and spectacle--how disgusting, decadent, corrupt. It's enough to make me wish the opera house itself would collapse in flames at the end of Gotterdammerung. Why can't you people stick to Puccini, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Steven Spielberg, and leave Wagner alone?