The Wagner Experience

It was a warm and humid day that I was invited to join a friend for a once in a lifetime experience. She had a spare ticket to go and see a performance of Wagner on a container ship. Seriously. Wagner on a container ship! With an invitation like that, who was I to refuse?

We arranged to meet at the Meeting Point at Centraal Station, which is an experience in and of itself if you’ve never tried looking for it before, and it’s not actually signposted anywhere.

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It was a good thing I’d gotten there early, as the venue, being movable, had moved. Still in the harbour, just not where we had previously thought it would be.

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We got there and, owing to the fact that they had delayed the start time because of the new venue, we were early. Given how beautiful the day was, it was no hardship at all to sit on an island in the middle of the IJ and watch the sun not setting. (Yay Northern Hemisphere!)

Part of the ticket entry included listening to a talk before hand about Wagner, the boat, and the people who had put this spectacular on for us. I’ll be honest with you here; It was in Dutch, and in a league far beyond what I could pick up. It was still amazing to be able to walk around back stage, look at the instruments, and see all the sound and lighting rigging.

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The other half of the ship was taken up with the stage bar, and had a jazz band set up for the people who had paid premium tickets and were staying on after the show. It was an amazing set up and I had to keep reminding myself that it was a freight ship! I have been to clubs that weren’t this well set up!

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With the sun setting on the back of the heads of the people in front of us we settled in to watch the show.

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The premise of the show was the integration of Wagner into pop culture. The influences who drove him, and where he fits in today’s society. There was a piece by an animation artist created to go with a specific piece of music, a heavy metal guitarist joined the orchestra for a piece, and then a hip hop artist.

I was hoping for a little more from the metal guy, but I guess they had to appeal to the wider audience. I was enthralled by how well the hip hop artist meshed his work with the Wagner though! Unexpectedly good!

After interval we went through what a huge influence Wagner has had on the silver screen. From black and white movies, through the more recent Lord of the Rings trilogy, and then the all time favourite (for Wagner and Coppola fans alike) the Ride of the Valkyries from Apocalypse Now. All of this being played by the orchestra while the screen was showing clips from the movies.

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For the big finale the orchestra played along with the guest artists, and the audience stood up and clapped along with the hip hop singer. The metal guitarist needed to turn up his amp …

It was an amazing evening, only made better by the fact that it was so warm and twilight lasts for so long.

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So instead of ending our wonderful evening we headed on up to the top floor of the Hilton Hotel to indulge in a little girlie gossip, discuss the amazing concert we’d just witnessed, and have a cocktail.

Thank you Trix for a remarkable evening! It truly was a once in a lifetime experience!

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