The 2012-13 opera season has come and almost gone. For whatever wonders summer may hold, the Met Opera season of broadcasts closes this weekend with the living end, Richard Wagner's "Götterdämmerung."
In a staggering marathon of recapitulations, developments, plot changes and reversals, and a grand procession of leitmotivs that ignite a conflagration that ends the opera, the gods and the world are reborn in the cleansing fires of the overflowing Rhine.
I have recently been reading about the post World War II international attempts to restore Europe, both materially and spiritually.
This struggle for renewal after suffering and oppression is given a musical shape in Francis Poulenc's, "Dialogues des Carmélites." Though premiered in 1956, its origins are in the period directly after the war in 1947-49.
If you're older than thirty you may know something of the unlikely and extremely rare probability of a baroque opera being performed at the Metropolitan Opera. This was sometime in the late eighties, but in musical terms seems a lifetime ago.
To quote Inspector Morse, the opera loving sleuth, "I was horrified to discover that the tickets I had received for Wagner were in fact for Handel!"
I can think of no opera composer of the first rank who has undergone so radical a transformation of fortune as Handel.
The Norse god Wotan - like his counterparts in the south, Zeus and Jupiter - got around as they say. He wasn't named "all-father" for nothing. The second opera of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle is about three of his offspring.
First, the legitimate daughter Brünnhilde, who is a Valkyrie -a collector of the heroic dead slain in battle - and after whom this opera is named. Then there are the twins Siegmund and Sieglende, their mother is Erda - mother earth.