I've been meaning to post about this all week, but I keep getting sidetracked. I saw Acts II and III last weekend (JW decided to keep Act I all to himself), and as we walked out of the final act on Saturday night, I said, "I think this is the way I need to hear Wagner from now on -- one act at a time -- because I know I wouldn't have appreciated that amazing climax in the same way if it had been at the end of an evening of opera that stretched past four hours.
I also might not have appreciated it without Bill Viola's video art, which was at its best in the final images of Act III, in transcendant sync with the music's final strains...just glorious.
Mark Swed wrote about it in the LATimes last Monday, calling it "the great Los Angeles artwork of our time." I don't know that I'm in the position to agree, but it was a lovely two nights at the symphony.
It's going to New York next, so keep an eye out for it. Too bad you'll have to hear/see it at Avery Fisher Hall. JW does not envy you.