Many a magic being

A menagerie of witches, black cats, angels (and their devilish counterparts), pirates, and princesses were among the 900 guests who filed past the flapper and the American Indian to take their Mandel Hall seats Saturday night. An annual tradition, the music department’s Halloween concert brought out a costumed crowd for this year’s Ring of Destiny, featuring selections from Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Götterdämmerung, and Die Walküre and Johann de Meij and Howard Shore’s music from The Lord of the Rings performed by the University Symphony Orchestra. Not to be out-spectacled by the audience, the musicians also were disguised—as elves, clowns, vampires, and what might have been a strawberry. Conductor Barbara Schubert appeared as a Viking, making a grand entrance on a wheeled longboat.

Reading from her golden shield, Schubert told the audience to expect “to meet many a magic being” in the selections, and she prefaced each piece with a rhymed synopsis describing the music’s fairytale narrative. Refusing to be distracted by false ears, lab goggles, and a young audience prone to unprompted claps and screams, the orchestra thundered through the pieces, accompanied during “Ride of the Valkyries” by the Hyde Park School of Ballet professional track dancers performing in the aisles. After the show—the first of two—the crowd gathered up its cowboy hats and prosthetic tails, streamed through a waiting throng of ghosts and goblins, and ventured out into the Halloween night.

By A.L.M.

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November 1, 2004