An old wound, Walkure, and Wagner

April 3, 2009

In 3rd grade, I accompanied some older kids from church on an inner tube adventure up in the Sandia mountains outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was on a big inner tube with three high schoolers, we pushed ourselves down the snowy slope and away we went. Then, my right leg got caught under the tube. We couldn’t stop; and I went all the way down the mountain. I could barely walk for three weeks. I ended up being a good athlete, runner, bicyclist and walker, so it turned out alright. Or so I thought.

Over the past 5 years I’ve been having horrible pains in my right hip on long car rides.

Last night, Mitchell Morris, Mark Carlson and I went to an open rehearsal of DIE WALKURE by the LA OPERA at the Music Center. We had an early dinner at Kendalls and waddled up to the opera. I’m not about to give you a review of the production: Swed can do that. Half way through the second act, I started getting sharp bolts of pain in my right hip. Mitchell befriended someone at intermission who let us take their seats, having overheard my horror story. I was able to get through the last act with minimal pain, along with a shot of gin.

I am not a Wagnerite. I don’t know his music terrible well, except for all the greatest hits that most musicians know. For my money, the Ride of the Valkyries is the best music. The rest just goes and goes and goes and DAMNed if Wagner doesn’t seem to know the meaning of STOP or a cadence or sustained slience. It’s relentless. But Mitchell pointed out that people get addicted to the feeling one gets when sitting through Wagner operas. A kind of opiate I’d imagine. The piece doesn’t seem to be sticky. I’ll keep my mind open. I still feel high from it.

At intermission, I realized how famous my good buds are: Mitchell was stopped by endless people who gushed over his terrific pre-concert and opera club talks about The Ring. He has become one of the alpha Wagner scholars in LA. Mark is connected to the chamber and orchestral music world, not to mention the myriad of students he’s had over his many years of teaching. Like Mitchell, he seemed to be constantly being pulled over and chatted with by some opera patron. A fun night.

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