Hit or myth

By CAROLYN CLAY  |  April 17, 2007

Valhalla is a demanding sprawl of silliness — though not without its share of one-liners. Under co-director (with Rick Park) and set designer David J. Miller’s tutelage, Zeitgeist creates a spectacle on a shoestring: there is an amusing horseback joust between Ludwig/Lohengrin and Queen Marie/Telramund, and rose petals let loose from the ceiling of Neuschwanstein’s fabled bed chamber, where James and Henry Lee finally consummate their passion. Costumer Seth Bodie supplies an impressive passel of frilly period wear. But I didn’t know there were this many bad wigs in the world, much less in one small-theater budget. There is an appealing performance by Jon Ferreira as seductive bad-boy James, and Elisa MacDonald brings sweetness not just to Ludwig’s humpbacked fiancée, Princess Sophie, but also to the Texas homecoming queen torn between two guys who really want each other. Alas, Brian Quint giggles and blubbers his way through Ludwig, and he’s not as bad as the play. For all its operatic pretensions, including the enshrinement at beginning and end of a glimmering crystal swan redolent of Lohengrin, the music of which punctuates the proceedings, Valhalla is more galumphing odd duck than Wagnerian trumpeter.

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