The crew of Classicalify is always seeking out exciting new Ring performances around the globe. The first one was in 1996 in Wagner Mecka stadt Bayreuth, the city where it all started and where it still goes on. We have come across Rings in Helsinki, Stockholm, New York, Weimar, Cologne and Karlsruhe and twice more in Bayreuth. For the moment we are in the small city of Karlstad in Sweden, close to the Norwegian border.
Curious as we are, we often ask ourselves what kind of people actually attend a performance of this kind, four operas in four eavnings with about 16 hours of music, wth some parts (Rheingold and act 1 of Götterdämmerung) lasting longer than a complete Puccini opera...
This is just a fun way of describing the people we see at different venues, and it's NOT scientifically in any means.
As well as you can compare the Wagner family, the Wagner clan, to the different figures in the Ring, you can also, just for fun, do the same with the audience.
1. The Wotans and Frickas
This the VERY elite of Bayreuth, headed by Fricka herself, or maybe TWO Frickas today. Angela Merkel and Katharina Wagner. Always show up on opening night (July 25) at Festspielhaus in Bayreuth. They are followed by all of Germany's important ones like politicians, fashion icons, head of big companies and so on... We guess some of them only go to opera once a year, on July 25, in Bayreuth, as they are invited.
2. The Freias, Donners and Frohs
This is the second best, the elite of any other operahouse in the world. Invited to opening nights at the Met, La Scala and Covent Garden. Here we find singers, actors, fashion and TV-people, opera singers. Some of them will never be invited to Bayreuth, but some has actually sung in Bayreuth.
3. The Siegmund and Sieglindes
This is quite a big lot, they have all been to Bayreuth at least once. They are the ones running Wagner societies around the world. Quite a few of them know each other and they LOVE each other and they LOVE to talk about Bayreuth and memories from their last visit in Wagner stadt. This is an important lot, as they also provide scholars for Wagner singers via their local Wagner Society. Some of them are actually very nice, but Classicalify now and then find them quite boring and conservative.
4. The Loges, Mimes, Fafner and Fasolts
Here you find the loners, the single ones, the gay ones, the crazy ones, the nerds, the disguised ones. A true Wagner fan, often travelling alone, sometimes with a nerd friend, has strong beliefs in the music. Her you also find all the gay couples, young and old, wolves and dinosaurs, but GAY. They see the Ring and operahouses as potential sex-places. It's not unusual to find some of these in the local gay pub or restaurant after the performance.
5. The Brünnhildes
This group consists mainly of old maids, or at least maids... Old, rich and strong ladies. Doing whatever they like, spending their money on travels, Wagner and good food and drink. If you are on crutches doesn't mather, just push your way forward in to the auditorium and all other will move away. Some of this old Brünnhildes also bring their toyboys by their side (well someone has to hold them during intervals, or...?).
6. The Gunther and Gutrunes
This is maybe the biggest part of any audience. As well as the Gibich siblings, this group is confused and often don't know what they want or how to act. Gutrune often brings along Gunther, who very much look puzzeled by all the other groups and he can't really decide if he's in the right place or not. But he tries to please his Gutrune, so he pays for the tickets and trips as long as she is happy. This group go to ANY opera, because it is supposed to be the correct thing to do. Of course they don't understand what is sung or what the fuzz is all about.
7. The Walküres
This is maybe the most interesting audience group. Here you find all the ones talking alot about the opera, the music, the singers and different performances. They are friends of the singers, some of them work at different opera houses and they all know each other. And they all are TRUE opera lovers. They travel quite often and spend much money on opera and recordings. Quite a noisy bunch, but also very fun. Some from groups 3-5 tend to belong (or WANT to belong) here as well, or at least they know someone in this group.
Well, this was just some crazy thinking from a sometimes confused crew member of Classicalify, don't take it to bloody serious. Have fun and enjoy your next Ring!