Wagner's Ring Cycle has strained many an opera company's budget. Last year the Washinton National Opera postponed its performances
of "Der Ring des Nibelungen" due to the economic climate. This year, a $32-million production of Richard Wagner's "Ring" Cycle is being cited as a cause for the financial problems that have befallen the Los Angeles Opera. The opera company recently received a $14-million emergency loan from Los Angeles County designed to keep it going until the middle of next year. The LA Times reports
that the opera company is $20 million in debt and needed the money in order to keep going. County supervisors voted to approve the loan partially over a concern that the failure of the L.A. Opera could hurt the county-owned Music Center. The Los Angeles Opera uses the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for its performances.
According to the LA Times article a group of opera trustees have pledged $30 million to keep the company going and so the loan will gradually be repaid as the money comes in. The four-part Ring cycle will be staged in its entirety May 29 to June 26 as part of a regional arts festival. So far about a third of the 9,000 four-opera subscriptions for the cycle have been sold. The opera can take around 15 hours to perform and the epic style and heavy tone can some put off some opera neophytes but for dedicated fans the Ring cycle is a must-attend event. Other operas may sell more tickets but for many opera houses the Ring cycle is a defining performance even if it is a budget buster.