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Byline: MARK BRITTAIN

IF it's the second week of March, it's time for the second opera of Keith Warner's fantastic (and I use the word advisedly) new Wagner Ring Cycle - Die Walkure, and this one is already wowing audiences and critics alike.

For those in the know, the plot needs no explanation here, and fort hose who don't, I'm sorry to say, space really doesn't allow.

Suffice to say, however, that of the four operas comprising The Ring, the first was just a scene setter.

This second opera is where the drama really starts, and it starts, predictably and nearly enough, with a marital spat between Frick a (Rosalind Plowright) and and rather hen-pecked Wotan (Bryn Terfel), whose world is going pear-shaped because he can't afford to pay the workmen.

Wotan has already been indulging in some horseplay with his spirited favourite daughter Brunnhilde (Lisa Gasteen) whose defiance of her father will ultimately dictate the rest of the Ring's action.

She makes her entrance down a ladder from Valhalla and is assisted in hitting her top notes by Wotan who gooses her with his spear.

Who said opera was stuffy?

Critic Edward Seckerson reckons Bryn, who has already proved himself to be a great Wagnerian and Wotan, is showing all the signs of becoming a legendary one. Well, it's only what we already suspected.

Finally, anyone who can make it is urged to high-tail it down to Pow is Hall, Bangor, tonight for 8pm, for the concluding ``Past and Present'' concert of this year's superlative Bangor News Music Festival featuring pianist I wan Llywelyn-Jones.

You'll hear works by Debussy, Pwyll ap Sion, Takemitsu, Messiaen, Goehr, Ravel, and the winning work of the William Mathias Composition Prize, and where else could you get a line-up like that?

You'll thank me for steering you to a stunning, brilliant, eclectic, feast of sound
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 11, 2005
Words:310
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