Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Wagner's Ring-Cyber?


Morning all! won't have escaped your notice that many musical organisations have been using the wonders of modern technology to arrange playing together at a socially-distanced distance, from many and disparate locations. But wait for it: is this the biggest one yet? How could it not be? It is...

Loge, from Arthur Rackham's Ring cycle illustrations
- a prequel of Jurowski's conducting?

The Ring cycle. Or in this case, the Ring-Cyber.

Putting on Wagner's Ring is no task for the faint-hearted. It requires years of planning, months of practice and weeks of rehearsal. And then, of course, days of playing and listening. So, really, you can't take risks with it, even at the best of times. The complete work has been in the 2020-21 diary of my orchestra-in-law, the LPO, for years: in some ways Vladimir Jurowski's farewell as he enters his last year as principal conductor before heading for the Bavarian State Opera, where he becomes music director later next year. Yet who knows when we will be able to return to life as "normal" used to be - with live concerts and operas to attend? Nothing is guaranteed.

And so they have devised the contingency plan to end all contingency plans.

The players will play from their homes, the singers will cyber-beam themselves in from all over the world, the anvils will have to be improvised from whatever metallic surfaces the percussionists have to hand, and the semi-staging will be in our imaginations only; but Vladimir, aided and abetted by the doughty leader Pieter Schoemann, will cue everyone in to perfection, having also conducted the rehearsals in similar remote mode. If he can't pull this off, nobody can. They know the first three backwards already; now it's only the small matter of nailing Götterdämmerung...

So, prepare to book your places at the computer and don't forget to tune in to this Ring-Cyber once-in-a-lifetime experience!

(PS: mezzo Jamie Barton, bass-baritone Ryan McKinny and pianist Katherine Kelly are already getting in shape: try this!