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Mein Kampf - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
Mein Kampf
As far as I am aware, Proms merchandise does not extend to hoodies; but some seasons they have had rather nice T-shirts, and at least one is advertising a brand one believes in. Nevertheless, it did take me a little by surprise to be engaged in conversation on the train on Sunday morning by a man sporting an impressive walrus moustache (I wouldn't have been surprised additionally if he had claimed to have known Sir Henry Wood personally). "Are you coming up for Siegfried, then?" Yes. "Ah. Do you have tickets, or are you going to queue?" kharin and I were going to queue. "Hmm. It'll be a long day. I'm going to listen to it on the radio". (I suppose full surrealist value would have been obtained if he had said wireless, telegraph, or possibly listen again on broadband.)

Perhaps Siegfried is the problem middle child in Wagner's Ring cycle: the queue wasn't that long - much shorter than for last year's Die Walküre, despite being scheduled for a weekend slot, and when we got inside some upper sections of the hall were essentially empty. The arena wasn't full, though of course the people that were there did have momentum towards the front of the hall.

We'd broken the monotony of the queue by attending John Deathridge's Pre-Prom Talk, the first time I've been to one of those. The combination of that and the synopsis in the programme gave a pretty clear statement of what to expect, which made the performance under the baton of Jean-Luc PicardCristoph Eschenbach straightforward enough to follow. Although it's a little longer than Die Walküre, there seems to be more action - though it does seem drawn out toward the conclusion as Siegfried rescues Brünnhilde. Jon Frederic West was perhaps not the picture of youthful hero one might expect for the role, but he could certainly sing it.

The Ring is not without humour: in particular, in Act II, the brothers Alberich and Mime bicker over the treasure guarded by the dragon Fafner, and the ring itself. Perhaps the humour was a little overplayed, though, in the passages leading up to Siegfried's murder of Mime, who has brought him up and cared for him as requested by the dying Sieglinde. The concluding duet between Siegfried and Brünnhilde is bizarre, rejoicing in the destruction they are about to bring upon themselves.

It's a struggle standing for 90 minutes at a time; God knows how I will manage for Götterdämmerung next year.


4 comments or Leave a comment
purplepiano From: purplepiano Date: July 17th, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was so unpopular that the BBCSC actually got offered complimentary tickets for Siegfried, which is very rare for a Prom, though I didn't have time to go. I thought last year a lot of people just went for Domingo.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: July 17th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suppose for the previous two, there were really big names - Rattle for Das Rheingold (I didn't go to Das Rheingold but kharin did and he tells me the queues were ferocious) and Domingo for Die Walküre. I wonder who's left to do Götterdämmerung - I imagine that will be popular next year. Looked at in a certain way, there is an advantage in being packed in so tightly that falling over is not an option.
obnoxious_muso From: obnoxious_muso Date: July 17th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
They had a T-shirt a couple of years ago that said "Prommers do it standing up". I really wanted one but was a penniless student at the time and couldn't spend £15 on a T-shirt.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: July 17th, 2006 10:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mine is one with the "O" shown as a Full Moon. They're not cheap (though probably no more expensive than you'd pay for popular music gear), and it says "Made in Bangladesh" ... somehow I don't think they'd qualify for a "Fair Trade" label.
4 comments or Leave a comment