The massive set for Wagner’s “Ring” being staged at the Metropolitan Opera picked a fine time to misbehave. A technical problem left an estimated 175,000 people sitting in movie theaters around the world (and nearly 4,000 people at the Met itself) twiddling their thumbs while waiting for the start of a live high-definition broadcast of “Die Walküre,” the cycle’s second installment. Finally, after about 45 minutes, the performance started.
The 45-ton set consists of a row of giant planks that revolve around an axis, which can also move up and down. Each plank has an encoder that transmits information about its position to a computer, the Met’s technical director, John Sellars, explained during the first intermission. One of those encoders was not working and had to be fixed, causing the delay, he said.
The malfunction was reminiscent of the “Ring’s” opening night, the first performance of “Das Rheingold” in September, when a problem prevented the formation of the bridge over which the gods cross into Valhalla.