Adventures in Opera: A 'Ring' in the Rain Forest
By LARRY ROHTER [NY Times, 9 May 05]
MANAUS, Brazil, May 8 - Richard Wagner set his fantastical world of Valkyries, gnomes and giants along the Rhine, not the Amazon. But this is a city with a long history of thinking large and even outlandishly, which is how the Amazonas Opera Festival here has ended up staging Wagner's sprawling four-part "Ring of the Nibelungen" cycle in the heart of the world's biggest rain forest.
Adding to the grandeur and novelty of the occasion is the fact that the site chosen for the performances is the celebrated Teatro Amazonas, a short stroll from the river. In Werner Herzog's film "Fitzcarraldo," the title character undertakes a mad journey across the Amazon in hopes of reaching Manaus in time to see Caruso sing at the lavish opera house that the local rubber barons have built to entertain themselves.
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