Yesterday’s Maureen Dowd N.Y. Times column, titled “Lord of the Internet Rings,” begins as follows: “They had me at the mesmerizing first scene, when the repulsive nerd is mocked by a comely, slender young lady he’s trying to woo. Bitter about women, he returns to his dark lair in a crimson fury of revenge.
“It unfolds with mythic sweep, telling the most compelling story of all, the one I cover every day in politics: What happens when the powerless become powerful and the powerful become powerless?
“This is a drama about quarrels over riches, social hierarchy, envy, theft and the consequence of deceit — a world upended where the vassals suddenly become lords and the lords suddenly lose their magic.
“The beauty who rejects the gnome at the start is furious when he turns around and betrays her, humiliating her before the world. And the giant brothers looming over the action justifiably feel they’ve provided the keys to the castle and want their reward. One is more trusting than the other, but both go berserk, feeling they’ve been swindled after entering into a legitimate business compact.
“The antisocial nerd, surrounded by his army of slaving minions, has been holed up making something so revolutionary and magical that it turns him into a force that could conquer the world.
“The towering brothers battle to get what they claim is their fair share of the glittering wealth that flows from the obsessive gnome’s genius designs.
“The gnome, remarkably, invents a way to hurl yourself through space and meet up with somebody at the other end.
“All of these mythic twists and turns in ‘Das Rheingold’ at the Metropolitan Opera in New York were a revelation to me. I’d never seen the Ring cycle. I didn’t even know what it was about. I loved everything about Peter Gelb‘s $16 million production: the shape-shifting, high-tech stage, the mermaid sopranos dangling from wires, the magnetic Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, who plays Wotan, the weak ruler of the gods who tries to renege after bartering his gorgeous sister-in-law for construction of a gorgeous castle.”
And so on.