May 10, 2005

NOT ORDINARY (via ef brown):

Adventures in Opera: A 'Ring' in the Rain Forest (LARRY ROHTER, 5/09/05, NY Times)

Richard Wagner set his fantastical world of Valkyries, gnomes and giants along the Rhine, not the Amazon. But this is a city with a long history of thinking large and even outlandishly, which is how the Amazonas Opera Festival here has ended up staging Wagner's sprawling four-part "Ring of the Nibelungen" cycle in the heart of the world's biggest rain forest.

Adding to the grandeur and novelty of the occasion is the fact that the site chosen for the performances is the celebrated Teatro Amazonas, a short stroll from the river. In Werner Herzog's film "Fitzcarraldo," the title character undertakes a mad journey across the Amazon in hopes of reaching Manaus in time to see Caruso sing at the lavish opera house that the local rubber barons have built to entertain themselves.

"I've done a lot of 'Rings,' and this is definitely not your ordinary situation," said Maria Russo, a soprano originally from Rome, N.Y., who has been cast as Brünnhilde. "It's extreme, and when I first came to Manaus in 2002, it was definitely a very big new experience for me. Even now, it sometimes seems amazing that we are actually doing this here."

If you've never seen it, Fitzcarraldo is a great film.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 10, 2005 12:15 PM

A very good film indeed. Kinski has quite a gift for portraying the obsessive. Aguirre: Wrath of God is also an excellent film.

Posted by: Rick T. at May 10, 2005 1:44 PM

"Fitzcarraldo is a great film."

It may not happen often, but I completely agree with you on this...

Posted by: creeper at May 10, 2005 2:33 PM

So is Aguirre, the Wrath of God, although it's not historically accurate.

Posted by: D. B. Light at May 11, 2005 2:56 AM