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It doesn’t matter what it is—sitting through 18 hours of anything isn’t for the faint of heart. Even for the biggest Wagner fans, the Washingon National Opera’s production of his epic Ring cycle can be a bit much. But if you’re curious enough to catch at least some of it, here’s a handy guide to help you decide which of the individual operas you might want to see.
• It’s just two-and-a-half-hours long.
• Do you like Thor and Loki? They’re in it!
• No intermission
• Two giants get all weepy about not getting to rape a pretty apple farmer.
• It’s got that “Ride of the Valkyries” piece the kids dig.
• Subtract “Ride of the Valkyries,” and it’s basically three hours of a brother and sister that really want to fuck.
• There’s a dragon.
• Siegfried is basically a more muscular and less self-aware Kenny Powers.
• Siegfried is a lot less likeable than Kenny Powers.
Twilight of the Gods
• It ends with fire.
• If you haven’t seen the previous three operas, don’t worry: The entire story is recapped.
• Siegfried’s funeral march (spoiler alert!)
• Brünnhilde takes a really long time to die.
• After the world is destroyed in fire and flood, you still have to watch the Rhinemaiden mean girls gloat for a while.
• Hagen’s vassals require the most micromanaging of any characters in any opera ever written.