09 May 2005

Sieglinde Intervenes in a Private Matter

(She knows from Rings)

Jonathan Evans, for example, is a 22-year-old student from Winter Haven, Fla., who has been an opera buff since he turned 13. He was on an Amazon cruise with his parents, Jim and Sonya, when they learned of the festival and its ambitious program and jumped at the opportunity to see Wagner along the great river. "I've got a 'Ring' recording, the Met version with James Levine and Kathleen Battle," he said. "But to be able to actually see part of the cycle in this incredible place, and for only $20 a ticket" - the best seats in the house - "how can you pass that up?"
A 'Ring' in the Rain Forest [NYT]

Dear Jim and Sonya: sooner or later, we find out the truth. Now that you know, the best thing to do for everyone's highest welfare, especially for dear Jonathan, would be to openly embrace him as proud parents of a "connoisseur." (Just be grateful he didn't turn into a Broadway aficionado.)

For the benefit of other parents of "questioning" pre-adolescents and teens, Sieglinde has organized (yet another) list for you. (Don't we just love Sieglinde's Germanic organization?) This time, it's a chronological list of telltale signs (specific to Wagner's Ring) your dear child is a "connoisseur" too.

1. Age 10, tells you J.R.R. Tolkien is a plagiarizer and fraud. (But still insists on calling his favorite teddy bear Frodo.)

2. Age 11 1/2, asks dad about possibility of moving the family to Valhalla, New York.

3. Age 12, wants to be fat, greets you "Hojoto-ho" from the school bus, and starts referring to you as Fricka in his fiuschia diary.

4. Age 14, "discovers" varsity "sports", switches to diet soda, and scribbles nothing but "Sieglinde" in his algebra textbook. If you have another son (more critically, a twin son) please read Die Walküre Act I synopsis pronto!!

5. Age 15, realizes Hildegard Behrens is too queer for devotion; listens to the Waldvogel in him and erects shrine for Kathy Battle in his room, amidst posters of Tom Cruise (Top Gun pose) and Rosalind Russell.

6. Age 16, obsession with Ring reaches crescendo; collects all types of rings, decorative and otherwise. (Remember that small, ornately studded leather thing you found under the sofa one afternoon and thought was a funky napkin ring?)

7. Age 18, chooses Yale over Harvard, leaves the Levine Ring home, and takes the Furtwängler Ring (RAI Roma, not La Scala) to New Haven.

[Side note: Those with short-haired daughters, only nuanced telltale sign: discussion at the dinner table about the Solti/Sutherland Ring. Everything else should be obvious and frighteningly explicit.]