Das Barbecü

The four operas that compose Wagner’s Ring cycle last about 15 hours. Its countrified adaptation, Das Barbecu (book and lyrics by Jim Luigs, music by Scott Warrender), takes a few minutes to summarize the first 11 hours, then spends two hours abbreviating the rest. Set in the tackiest part of Texas, Barbecu verges on parody while remaining faithful to source material that doesn’t intuitively lend itself to comedy. But never mind that. If you can get past the songs that don’t really forward the plot that doesn’t make sense anyway (why are they singing about guacamole?), this is an extraordinarily fun production with an incredible cast. Stephen Terrell’s choreography is simple, but toe-tappingly effective; particularly ingenious is the pool scene, designed by David Zinn, in which the Rhinemaidens are envisioned as a synchronized swimming troupe. The three women (Anne Allgood, Jennifer Sue Johnson, and Billie Wildrick) and two men (Carter Davis and Richard Ziman) each take on numerous roles and maintain highly energetic vocal power. The women are especially impressive. Siegfried’s death feels abrupt and out of place, but no one in the audience really cares; they’re far too entranced by Wildrick’s Brunnhilde ballad. BRENT ARONOWITZ 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Thurs. & Sun.; 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Sept. 6.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: July 31. Continues through Sept. 6, 2009

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