An observer couldn't help but wonder who was steering the Los Angeles arts community Monday morning as leaders of about 50 arts organizations gathered at the Grand Hall of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a news conference to officially announce Ring Festival L.A.
The 10-week, citywide event, to be held April 15 through June 30, 2010, will have as its centerpiece Los Angeles Opera's production of Richard Wagner's epic four-cycle "Der Ring des Nibelungen." It will be the city's first presentation of the cycle.
The arts leaders were seated behind a dais containing their colleagues making the announcement: L.A. Opera general director Placido Domingo, company chairman and Chief Executive Marc I. Stern, philanthropist Eli Broad (a $6-million gift from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation will fund "The Ring"), County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and L.A. Opera board President Carol Henry.
Board member Barry A. Sanders outlined some of the planned offerings, including a California Art Club "Wagner Paint-Out," featuring plein air paintings of mythic themes from "The Ring" in various locations around Los Angeles County; a Griffith Observatory presentation of "Light of the Valkyries"; and a new Wagner-inspired hip-hop work by L.A.'s daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra.
Sanders was the only Ring Festival booster to point out that the event will also address the negative aspects of Wagner, Hitler's favorite composer. It will include a seminar, "Richard Wagner and the Jews: The Use of Wagner by the Nazis," at American Jewish University.