[the incomparable Anna Russell doing her Ring Routine. – Clip with thanks to yvonnedesire]
Yes, I know we’re a day early with the New Year’s Eve comical routine. But since the Ring is long, this may take two nights. And while many of you, much like me, can already recite along with Ms. Russell, there are many people new to opera that stumble over this blog and that may not know this gem yet. Besides, can one ever listen to this too often?!
This is from the 1984 Farewell Tour, available through VaiMusic (it’s not the – in my opinion, superior – 1953 Live in New York version (listen to it here), which is the one I was raised with). For those who don’t know her: Anna Russell was a music comedian. Actually, she was probably THE music comedian, parodying opera, singers and classical music customs with wit, musicality and impeccable comic timing.
Her most famous routine (next to the Gilbert and Sullivan one, which I initially wanted to post, but it’s not available online – definitely worth buying the album, though) is her 20-minute version of Wagner’s 14-to-16-hours (depending on the conductor) “Ring des Nibelungen” cycle. Actually, you can’t really put her performance into words. Just watch for yourself (pt. 2 and 3 are embedded below).
And with that, I wish you all a jolly slide over into the New Year of 2010, which shall be full of White-Shirted Mezzos, thought-provoking opera productions, breathtaking concerts (if possible, with White Shirt après-chant), accessible radio broadcasts, opening nights streamed across the globe and all kinds of other associated goodies.