Healing and Wagner

Many of you will remember my friend Barry, who was beset with cancer and had been going through chemotherapy in the first part of the year. Mercifully, his chemo treatments have now concluded; he’s in good health, and is dealing cheerfully with the only aftereffects of his ordeal: some leftover fluid in the lungs from the bleo, and the need to get regular checkups, probably for the rest of his life.

Now, if you knew Barry, you’d realize that there’s only one way to celebrate his renewed vitality that would seem appropriate to him after such an ordeal: enjoying The Ring of the Nibelung in the company of friends. Barry’s the biggest Wagner fan I’ve ever known, and considers the Ring to be one of the high points of western civilization. I’ve found my own interest rekindled recently when reading a biography of The Inklings, the society that revolved around C.S. Lewis, and whose members included Charles Williams and J.R.R. Tolkien, whose Lord of the Rings draws on the German legends that make up the plot of Wagner’s Ring.

I’ve never seen The Ring, nor even any of its component operas. But for the next seven days, I’ll be keeping a somewhat insane schedule, working in Austin during the days, watching the operas with Barry and friends in San Antonio as evening approaches. Goodwife Kathy has graciously offered to do the necessary child care to enable me this intensive soak in this sea of culture. (She’ll be coming along for this evening’s introductions to the leitmotifs.)

Now I’m off to see if I can find a recording of Elmer Fudd singing “Kill the Wabbit!” to play loudly on the stereo as a drive…