THE MET LIVE IN HD: “Der Ring des Nibelungen” – At SF Bay Area Theatres

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

The Metropolitan Opera will present worldwide movie theater screenings of Robert Lepage’s new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, as well as Wagner’s Dream, a new documentary chronicling the creation of this ambitious new staging. The series begins on Monday, May 7th with a screening of the documentary, directed by award-winning filmmaker Susan Froemke, and continues on May 9th with Das Rheingold, the first opera in the cycle. Participating theaters in San Francisco include Cinearts Empire 3 (85 West Portal Avenue) and (845 Market Street, 5th floor of Westfield Shopping Centre). The entire four-part Ring cycle and documentary will be screened in many countries this spring and summer, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Click here to find other Bay Area locations: THE MET Live in HD

WAGNER’S DREAM – A documentary by Susan Froemke
Monday, May 7 at 6:30 pm. 1 hour, 52 minutes
Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
The stakes could not be higher as one of the theater’s finest stage directors teams up with one of the world’s leading opera companies to tackle opera’s most monumental challenge: a new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle—the four-part, 16-hour work that the composer first presented in 1876. Wagner’s Dream takes you deep into the artistic and musical challenges of the epic work. Visionary director Robert Lepage begins a five-year journey to create the most ambitious staging in Metropolitan Opera history, featuring a 90,000-pound set (“The Machine”) designed to realize all of Wagner’s scenic instructions. The film follows heroic singers from rehearsals to performance as they take on many of the most daunting roles in opera. An intimate look at the challenges of live theater and the risks that must be taken, the documentary chronicles the tremendous creativity and unflagging determination behind this daring attempt to realize Wagner’s dream of a perfect Ring.

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DAS RHEINGOLD – The Met Live in HD. Photo, Ken Howard

DAS RHEINGOLD (The Rhine Gold)
Wednesday, May 9 at 6:30 pm. 2 hours, 50 minutes, no intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by James Levine. Starring Wendy Bryn Harmer (Freia), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Patricia Bardon (Erda), Richard Croft (Loge), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Bryn Terfel (Wotan), Eric Owens (Alberich), Franz-Josef Selig (Fasolt), Hans-Peter König (Fafner)
In the first opera in the Ring cycle, the gods of Valhalla clash with underworld dwarves and brawny giants, with disastrous consequences. The evil Alberich steals gold from the Rhine and uses it to forge a ring of unimaginable power. Wotan, the king of the gods, uses magic to steal the Ring, but Alberich places a curse that guarantees misery for whoever wears it. Wotan’s unwillingness to part with the ring leads him to break a contract with the giants who have built the gods’ new castle in the sky, setting in motion a chain of events that will end in his own destruction.

Die Walküre (The Valkyrie)
Monday, May 14 at 6:30 pm. 259 minutes, including 1 intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by James Levine. Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Jonas Kaufmann (Siegmund), Bryn Terfel (Wotan), Hans-Peter König (Hunding)
The mysterious hero Siegmund finds shelter in the strangely familiar arms of a lonely woman named Sieglinde. Their forbidden love leads Wotan’s daughter, the warrior maiden Brünnhilde, to defy morality and intervene on behalf of the hero. Brünnhilde’s transgression forces her father to choose between his love for his favorite daughter and his duty to his wife, the formidable goddess Fricka. Overcome with grief, Wotan takes away Brünnhilde’s godlike powers and puts her to sleep on a mountaintop, surrounded by a ring of magic fire that can only be crossed by the bravest of heroes.

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STEPHANIE BLYTHE (Fricka) and BRYN TERFEL (Wotan). Photo, Ken Howard

Siegfried
Wednesday, May 16 at 6:30 pm. 258 minutes, including one intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by Fabio Luisi. Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Patricia Bardon (Erda), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Bryn Terfel (The Wanderer), Eric Owens (Alberich)
The young hero Siegfried grows up in the wilderness, raised by Alberich’s conniving brother Mime. He puts together the broken pieces of the sword Nothung, uses it to slay the fearsome dragon Fafner, and takes the Ring for himself. To fulfill his destiny, he must overcome one more opponent—Wotan, now disguised as the Wanderer, who knows the world of the gods is coming to an end—and cross through the magic fire to awaken his true love, Brünnhilde.

Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)
Saturday, May 19 at 12 pm. 287 minutes, including one intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by Fabio Luisi. Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Wendy Bryn Harmer (Gutrune), Waltraud Meier (Waltraute), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried), Iain Paterson (Gunther), Eric Owens (Alberich), Hans-Peter König (Hagen).
Siegfried and Brünnhilde’s love is torn apart by the curse of the Ring. A trio of scheming humans separates the two heroes in a desperate attempt to steal the Ring for themselves. Their villainous plan fails, but they succeed in murdering Siegfried. Heartbroken, Brünnhilde takes the Ring and leaps into the hero’s funeral pyre, causing a global cataclysm and the twilight of the gods.

jonas-kaufman-siegmund-e28093-eva-maria-westbroek-sieglinde

JONAS KAUFMAN (Siegmund) – EVA-MARIA WESTBROEK (Sieglinde). Photo, Ken Howard

Click here to find other Bay Area locations: THE MET Live in HD

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