The great opera commentator, John Culshaw was once asked to describe the monumental Wagnerian “Ring Cycle” using only one word. After pondering the question for a moment he responded by characterizing it as, “long.” At first, this obvious answer seemed more flippant than serious, but a little thought leads one to conclude that Culshaw was on to something. Many words could describe the Ring: monumental, bombastic, fantastic, convoluted, stirring, mythological, but each limits the scope or makes a judgment which may not be ultimately true. The truth is that someone who wants to tackle the Ring must be prepared to undergo quite a long journey—an investment in both time and emotion—to discover the many treasures, which may reward the patient and skilled listener.



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