"Das Rheingold" A Massive First For Met
The biggest and most ambitious production in the Metropolitan Opera's history is set to open Monday night. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
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As The New York Metropolitan Opera prepares for the opening night of "Das Rheingold," the first installment of Wagner's four part 'Ring' cycle, the size and scope of this production just may make general manager Peter Gelb the "Lord of the Rings."
"Well, I feel more like the servant of the ring than the lord of the ring," says Gelb. "You know, it's very exciting. This is probably the most challenging production the Met has ever put on stage, which is appropriate because this is the most challenging opera that any opera company can produce. 'The Ring' is the most complicated and interesting and varied story of all the operas."
It's a battle between the gods giants and mortals over gold.
"I'm Donner, the God of thunder, and I have this hammer that holds my power and I swing it and cause thunder and lightning," says "Das Rheingold" Baritone Dwayne Croft.
"And I'm the God of fire, the demi-God of fire. And I cause a little mischief," says "Das Rheingold" Tenor Richard Croft.
The first installment, "Das Rheingold," debuts this season, the second in the spring, and the third next fall. The fourth and complete series will be performed the following spring. All four will use a 45 ton set -- a set so big it required the Met to reinforce the floors. Visually, it comes alive with high tech projections and interactive computer programs plus aerial work.
"I think all of us were a little nervous when they found out that we were going to be flying but in reality, it's been a lot of fun," says "Das Rheingold" Mezzo-Soprano Tamara Mumford.
Because of the large and complicated set, the show's director says it was important not to overshadow the actual performance.
"Of course, at the beginning, we overdo it. It's normal. Then eventually you get rid of the extra stuff. And at the end, you at least sift through and you keep really what's essential and what lives well with the actual story," says "Das Rheingold" Director Robert Lepage.
As for the cost, insiders estimate upwards of $15 millions. Gelb says it's official policy not to comment on the cost.
"I can tell you it's no more expensive on an opera-by-opera basis in any new production that we are doing here," Gelb says. "We have this one giant set that serves all four operas, so it's about four times more expensive than one opera. But ultimately, it's equal to four new productions."
The entire first installment is sold out, which is pure gold in the opera world.