TARPON SPRINGS — Performing Twilight of the Gods is a challenge for even the largest of opera houses.
So Tarpon Springs' New Century Opera presenting the five-hour epic opera (the longest in the operatic repertoire) represents a most ambitious undertaking.
"We're the little opera company that could," said Constantine Grame, the 27-year-old director. "Nothing like this has been undertaken in this area, and we felt we could remedy that."
In the bigger opera houses, Richard Wagner's musical score is normally presented by a 100-piece orchestra, he said. Here, Grame is the sole musician, playing the piano during the production.
So, does that leave him with sore fingers?
Not really, he says, but he admits his role in the performance is physically exhausting.
"I sleep well at night," he said.
Bring your appetite. German meats, cheeses and strudels will be served during the two scheduled intermissions.
Twilight is the fourth and final chapter of Wagner's tetralogy, known as the Ring cycle, which tells about the fall of the ancient Germanic gods through the emblematic themes of love, power, greed and betrayal.
New Century Opera, now in its sixth season, already has presented the other three chapters: The Rhine Gold, The Valkyrie and Siegfried. In this, the final episode, the gods are destroyed and the gold ring, powerful but cursed, is returned to the Rhine Maidens.
"We're fortunate to have talented performers willing to undertake these roles in the Tampa Bay area," Grame said. "It requires large, beautiful voices."
Wagner (1813-1883) was a German composer known for his rich harmonies and soaring melodies. He is often referred to as opera's William Shakespeare.
"I love the sheer beauty of this music, the powerful scores, and the emotionally charged, evocative qualities," Grame said. "We're working hard to add something new to the cultural mix in the area."
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