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Monday, February 13, 2012

Valhalla Collapses Early

Stage accident stops Darmstadt Das Rheingold.
A scene from the Darmstadt Das Rheingold. 
Image © 2012 Staattheater Darmstadt.
It seems that the Metropolitan Opera is not the only place where mounting Wagner's epic Ring Cycle is an occupational hazard. 

Reports are coming out of Darmstadt, Germany that a Feb. 11 performance of Das Rheingold at the Darmstadt Stadttheater came to an early end when a section of the set came unfastened and crashed onto the stage, landing in the orchestra pit and injuring a musician. This story was first reported (in English) on Norman Lebrecht's blog Slipped Disc.

The giants kidnapt Freia in a scene from the Darmstadt Das Rheingold. 
Image © 2012 Staattheater Darmstadt.
The Darmstadt production of Rheingold modernizes Wagner's drama, with Wotan as a pinstriped industrialist and the Giants as construction workers in safety helmets. From the photographs on the theater's website, Valhalla appears to be a nuclear plant. The production is by John Dew.

The incident took place towards the end of the two and half hour opera, when a piece of press-board, which framed the action, was 26 feet high and 4 feet wide. Apparently it fell forward with one end landing in the orchestra pit and striking a member of the orchestra in the head. The performance was stopped immediately, and the woman was taken to a nearby hospital. 

Perhaps this is why Wagner designed the famous "covered" pit at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus?

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.