A Sci-Fi “Siegrfried”

As the Stage Turns: A scene from the first act of "Siegfried."

There is something incredibly exciting about the neon-striped stage set and Burning Man-styled costumes in the L.A. Opera's presentation of "Siegfried," the third installment of Wagner's “The Ring of Nibelung” cycle which we caught last night (and is scheduled for a couple more performances before returning next year for the complete cycle).
The oversized head masks, the shaded silhouettes slowly moving across the stage, and the glowing neon poles resembling Jedi light sabers catapulted this century-and-half-old opera warp-speed into the present thanks to the omnipotent overview of Achim Freyer. In his avant-garde interpretation, Mr. Freyer directed, painted, collaborated on the costumes with his daughter Amanda Freyer and the imaginative use of lighting with Brian Gale.

The boor Siegfried and the maniacal Mime.

The spectacular look of the production, however, couldn't keep us in our seats for the five-hour marathon. Wagner is a taste acquired, his fanatics like to crow. So be it. We opted to smack our lips on the Hendricks martinis and a platter of Hamma Hamma oysters in the bistro below the Dorothy Chandler.
And we weren't alone. By the end of the second act, the place was packed with gussied-up refugees, among them designer James Galanos. A second glass into his bottle of Bordeaux, he enthusiastically chatted about Betsy Bloomingdale's coming contribution of her wardrobe–including dozens of Galanos gowns–to FIDM, and his ongoing photography hobby, even though he's left his part-time home in Palm Springs for full-time living in L.A. The fashion legend was talking about the show upstairs, but could have been talking about his life, or the rest of our evening when he pointed out, "The second act was less work and definitely more enjoyable."

Photos: Monika Rittershaus/L.A. Opera

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