By Duante Beddingfield at Detroit Free Press
“It took me awhile to really come to love opera,” Michigan Opera Theatre artistic director Yuval Sharon confided after the closing of his first production since joining the Detroit-based company this fall.
“I remember being 13 and going to the opera for the first time,” he continued, “and … it didn’t speak to me. I found it so alien and strange. My dad just kept bringing me to it, and eventually I found a fascination and then a love for it.
“But dumbing it down is not what’s really going to lead people to it,” Sharon said. “What leads people, welcomes people, is when you can present something that has the integrity of the original work, but in a way that feels open and inviting.”
That principle guided Sharon’s approach to “Twilight: Gods,” the bewitching, English-language adaptation of Richard Wagner’s legendary “Götterdämmerung.” Staged downtown in the Detroit Opera House parking garage, “Twilight: Gods” was a treat for opera and live-performance fans who have been barred from theaters for months amid the health restraints and cancellations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The three-act epic, notorious for its six-hour length, was cut to 65 minutes by Sharon, who wrote new English lyrics to fit Wagner’s score. Each scene took place on a level of the six-story garage, with more than 100 parking ushers guiding eight cars at a time to and from each vignette. Singers and instrumentalists wore microphones, and drive-in guests were instructed to tune their radios to a new station for crystal-clear audio on each floor.