Los Angeles Ring Festival 2010

Seminar at MSMC about the LA Ring Festival 2010

Press Conference January 5, 2010

January is Los Angeles Arts Month, and the 2010 kick-off celebration was a press conference at the REDCAT auditorium in Disney Hall. Much of the press conference touched on the LA Ring Cycle, and over 100 cultural Ring partners were represented. My Flip camera caught all 45 minutes of the gathering and some of the clips are now on YouTube:

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke about the relationship of the arts community and the City of Los Angeles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fH4LO-GFtM0

Barry Sanders, leader of the Ring Festival and one of the posters on this blog, spoke about the Festival: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXcxzOUaZJk

And here’s the official logo of the Festival:

Logo for the LA Ring Festival

Logo for the LA Ring Festival

Filed under: Festival 2010, Los Angeles culture, Related culture, Ring of the Nibelung

Two Seminars on the “Two Rings”

Two seminars are now open for enrollment:

– a 2-day seminar on June 11 & 12, 2010 open to the general public via ticket sales
– a 4-month graduate seminar from January to April in the 2010 Masters in Humanities program at Mount St. Mary’s College

Both seminars take place on the Doheny campus (downtown Los Angeles). Both seminars are called “Two Rings: Wagner & Tolkien.” The June 2010 seminar is a compressed version of the 4-month graduate seminar.

Here is the downloadable syllabus for the 4-month graduate seminar. Information on admission to the graduate program is here. This graduate seminar meets all-day on six Saturdays from January to May and focuses on the myth and imagery of the Ring in the epics of Tolkien and Wagner, in Norse sagas and 20th-century fantasy.

The 2-day seminar is on June 11 & 12, 2010 (9 am – 4 pm) and welcomes all opera and fantasy fans who wish to discuss the Two Rings. The college campus will host the lectures and discussions in the historic gardens of the Doheny campus in downtown LA. Sign-up for the June 2010 seminar does NOT require admission to the Masters Program but is open to members of the general public who have purchased tickets. Information and tickets (Paypal) for the 2-day workshop / seminar is at: http://www.msmc.la.edu/ringseminars

For more information on either or both seminars, email Dr. Mike Heim: mheim@msmc.la.edu or mike*at*mheim.com

Filed under: Festival 2010, ideas for celebrating the Festival, Lord of the Rings, Los Angeles culture, Related culture, Ring of the Nibelung

“Star Wars” Ring?

Here’s why the LA Opera Ring is being called the “Star Wars Ring.”

Valkyries with Light Sabers

These are the Valkyries with their Light Sabers. This still shot conveys the idea, but to get a fuller visual impression, you can view the video clip on YouTube.  Only in the theater, however, with live action and motion do you get the full impact of this performance.  Think of sparklers in the dark. 

Note the “dead bodies” like mummies at the feet of the Valkyries. These are the fallen warriors who are chosen on the battlefield to become heroes sung and celebrated in the halls of Valhalla. (Implied comment on contemporary heroism?) The “bicycles” are the horses ridden by the Valkyries. These bikes later become the torches spinning around Brunnhilde when Wotan condemns her to the protection of the Magic Fire Circle. Red electric lights are mounted on top of each bike as the bikes turn each on their own axis.

And there in the center is Wotan in one of his incarnations, pulling the Valkyries on ribbon strings. Sometimes Wotan will appear on the stage in several simultaneous incarnations. This particular incarnation has Wotan wearing a floppy-brim hat, the Wanderer’s Hat that usually adorns him at the beginning of the opera Siegfried during the Riddle Contest with Mime. Here the lack of a head enhances the mysterious quality of Wotan the Wanderer as his power and purpose diminish and he gradually gives way to inevitable failure and the growing Twilight of the Gods.

Filed under: Festival 2010, Reactions & Reviews, Related culture, Ring of the Nibelung

Freyer Painting at the Broad Museum (LACMA)

A watercolor by Achim Freyer, visual designer of the LA Ring cycle, hangs in the current exhibit “The Art of Two Germanys: Art in Berlin during the Cold War.”  The exhibit celebrates Berlin’s enormous pent-up, always-on-the-edge-of-violence mood during the Cold War period. Giant wall photos of anti-nuclear street protests at New York City’s Grand Central Station stand opposite gild-framed portraits of US President Ronald Reagan whose stone-wall demeanor is cordoned off with red ropes at the end of a long red Hollywood-style red carpet.

Freyer’s  contribution to the museum exhibit is a large watercolor with several strips of solid sea blue (yes, solid watercolors!).  The effect is similar to a small Rothko, an abstract expressionistic beauty based on subtle shadings of banded color, in this case the single color of light ocean blue. The title is “Seascape.”

The exhibit’s several rooms in the Broad building at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) features shocking moments too, easy reminders of Germany’s 20th-century tragedies. If you lived in Berlin during the Seventies, as this writer has, you will find much to ponder in the paintings that retrieve the memories of Rudi Dutschke, the Red Army Faction, the life of Turkish “guest workers,” etcetera. 

Included in the exhibit is a wall-size Wagner-inspired painting by the noted Anselm Kiefer. Kiefer’s mead-hall vision in “Germany’s spiritual heroes” – has a lower border that is darkened by a flame that threatens to ignite the whole wooden structure. The name “Wagner” leads the list of names that include Goethe, Mechtild of Magdeburg, et al.  Another Wagner-related painting “Brünnhilde Sleeps” by Anselm Kiefer is online at:  http://tinyurl.com/Br-nnhilde-Sleeps

More about the exhibit at: www.tinyurl.com/freyer

Filed under: Los Angeles culture, Reactions & Reviews, Related culture