Thursday 11 October 2012

A Ring A Ring Of Roses

Passing by our local football ground, Isthmian Rymans League Division One, we noticed that it costs £10 each to stand at home games.  Given the cost of attending Premiership and the rest of them, for what is going on being much the same it seems a decent bargain.

But we shall not be there on Saturday, we shall be at Covent Garden for the “Swan Lake” Royal Ballet, at least there will be a result, no red cards and relatively few obscenities.  This will cost us £8 each, standing, with a decent view and a racing start to the bar at intervals.  But we shall be seeing some of the best in the business.

George Osborne, our Chancellor, has come in for some stick for attending The Ring Cycle Opera Series at Covent Garden.  It is probable he is paying out of his own money and going in his own time.  If he is sitting in the best seats it is certainly costly, but around the same top price for many leading sporting events.

As some point out, if he went to a top soccer game, or appeared at Ascot or The Derby or Formula One he would earn populist brownie points and it could cost a whole lot more in many ways.  So it is OK to spend a lot to appear with the usual gruesome bunch of attention seeking celebrities, but not OK to sack out with arty types at an Opera.

As it happens when The Ring appeared on the listings we decided to skip it this time round, been there, done that and it is a long stand and a long day.  We have seen this production (at £15 a ticket) and one way or another have taken in a few in the last forty years and have moved on.  I’ve always said that Wagner needed a good and determined editor.

The thought to recast the plot of The Ring in modern financial and political terms was tempting to point out that our politicians and media could learn a lot from the message of The Ring.  But it looked to run a lot of words and if anyone was really interested in the moral it has for us then the web and Wikipedia has it all.

It is enough to say that at the very end of this rambling collection of stories the curse of gold, money and power destroys the gods and it all goes up in flames leaving a blinking baffled humanity to sort it out.  They find themselves in a world without gods, gold, or heroes or leaders and an unknown future.

The opera plots themselves are some heavy reworking by Wagner of some ancient legends and stories, notably the “Nibelungenlied”.  He is putting a major spin on the whole thing to point to the depravity, violence and foolishness of mid 19th Century Europe and how it might end.

The “Nibelunglied” itself is a selection of stories designed for the European elite of the early Medieval period characterising the equestrian class, princes and that as heroes with the endemic violence of their endless power seeking somehow a praiseworthy activity.  In short the “chivalry” of the period who gave the peasantry such a hard time was good for economic growth.

The convention of any writing in the Medieval age was to claim reference to more ancient sources.  How far these were made up is a question, but it is likely in some cases stories did exist from the past.  Whether that past was like the stories or not is another matter.  What did matter was that in Europe was that changed from around the time of the First Millennia into the Middle Ages.

So here we are in 2012, around another millennia on and after a period of rapid change now in the throes of a major upheaval where nothing it what we think it to be.  Our hapless governments struggle on in the pretence that they can govern and the greater pretence that they understand much about it.

Some parts of the world are relapsing into medieval style persistent violence and in other places nation states have surrendered to predatory global traders and others bent on extraction for personal gain.

Come to think of it, we have the 1958 film “The Vikings” saved, so we might treat ourselves to that; see Wikipedia for the story.  I saw this on release in the company of some Icelanders, one of life’s interesting experiences. 

The photograph is one of the key locations.  We paid it a visit some time ago.  It was a few weeks before Prime Minister James Callaghan called in the IMF to lend the UK money in 1976 when the economy crashed.

1 comment:

  1. I just paid £59 to watch Newcastle Utd play Manchester Utd. Seat 24 row XX. I had a better view of the Vikings homeland.