Malibu Seen / By Kim Devore


There has been fuss, fanfare, hype and hullabaloo, but for local opera lovers like Marc and Eva Stern, and Eli and Edythe Broad, it’s been well worth the wait. At last, the much anticipated Ring Cycle and its impressive calendar of events are finally here – all of them.

The mega music festival is big, really big-so grand that Los Angeles Opera General Director Placido Domingo has hailed it as “the largest, most significant cultural festival in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival.”

Wagner’s four-work tale of tainted gold, Nordic gods and superheroes requires a hefty attention span weighing in at 17 hours. It will be performed in its entirety three times beginning on May 29. Hardcore opera buffs say it’s well worth the ride. It’s been a labor of love with a $32 million price tag, and the spectacular staging by German avant-garde director Achim Freyer is a show in itself.

The Ring’s reach, however, goes far beyond the Music Center. Dozens of organizations throughout Los Angeles are sponsoring Ring-related activities, programs and novelties from seminars on the classical roots of Wagnerian mythology to gourmet grass fed beef hot dogs.

The all-encompassing endeavor was years in the making. It took an enormous amount of dedication, grass roots financing and faith. “It was a product of circumstances,” L.A. Opera board chairman Marc Stern has said. “We didn’t have an infrastructure, we didn’t have funding so all we could do is tell people ‘This is exciting, you should be a part of it.’”

Highlights of the festival include everything from a screening of Fritz Lang’s 1924 film classic “Nibelungen” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to a presentation by a performance art group known as collision/theory at the Highways Performance Space and Gallery in Santa Monica.

But the real gem is a chance to see Ring in all its glory with memories to last a lifetime.


A while back, Malibu Seen was visiting the Big Apple and after consuming a Ruben sandwich the size of a bus at Roxy’s, we just happened upon a Broadway matinee called “The 39 Steps.” The show was a delight, a laugh-out-loud take on the Hitchcock classic. It’s a must see and until May 16 you can catch it at the Ahmanson Theater.

The magic is in the staging with only four actors taking on dozens of roles. It captures all the famous scenes, the romance, the drama and suspense of the original 1935 thriller and gives it a comic twist. Think of it as juicy spy novel meets “Young Frankenstein.” So if Wagner is a little too weighty for your weekend, step on out. You’ll be glad you did.

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