Wagnerian Orgy

Thirty years ago in Seattle Weekly.

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This is one of a series looking back at Seattle Weekly's first year.

30th Anniversary

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Among attempts to "put Seattle on the map," none has been so enduring and successful as Glynn Ross' maniac determination to mount Richard Wagner's 17-hour, four-opera Ring cycle in the Pacific Northwest. Ross never realized his dream to put the show on outdoors, in a special-built amphitheater with a living backdrop of forests and mountain majesties (though he managed that later in Arizona), but since 1976, the centenary of the first performance of The Ring, Seattle has played host to visitors both domestic and foreign, come to pay homage to the mad master of Bayreuth in the relative comfort of Seattle Center's Opera House (and now in McCaw Hall). For the 17th issue of Seattle Weekly (July 21, 1976), the paper's new music critic (me) not only wrote a highly conflicted account of the staging's strengths and weaknesses, but doubled as a bewildered Siegfried on the cover, emerging from the mist, sword in hand, wearing a T-shirt (and not much else) bearing the sweaty legend "I was a willing participant in the 1976 Seattle Wagner orgy." (Ah, those were the days when "alternative" journalism was alternative. ... )

In other news, our pseudonymous medical columnist "Dr. Browne" described the area's biggest problem: a surplus of medicos; Bill Cushing described the incipient fight between Weyerhaeuser and the ecologically minded to build a vast port facility in the Nisqually Delta; and genuine Guinness on draft arrived in Seattle.

rdowney@seattleweekly.com

 
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