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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
Wagner epic thrills opera fans
Wagner's Ring Cycle at Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Wagner's Ring Cycle was last performed in Scotland in 1971
Opera fans at the opening night of Wagner's epic Ring Cycle in Edinburgh on Monday gave the performance a rapturous reception.

The production sold out months ago - but some fans queued overnight on Sunday to get their hands on a batch of tickets that were held back.

"A full production of the Ring Cycle doesn't happen nearly often enough as far as Wagner buffs are concerned," said one audience member, David Piedsky, 28, who travelled from London.

Other highlights in Edinburgh on Monday included Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter Oona's stage debut playing the silent film star.

Ms Chaplin was appearing in a school play as part of the city's Fringe festival, while the Ring Cycle - or Das Rheingold - is one of the highlights of the Edinburgh International Festival.

It's a very special experience for people to be part of
David Piedsky
Opera fan
It was the first production of Wagner's 16-hour opera - broken down into four operas - to be staged in Scotland for over 30 years.

In it, Wotan, the king of the gods, is played as a sharp-suited German businessman while Valhalla, his mythical home, is represented by a model of the Empire State Building.

And Scottish Opera used special effects, like a 12-foot (3.5-metre) mechanical claw, to portrayed some of Wagner's plot twists.

As the curtain fell after the 165-minute spectacle, there were cries of "bravo" amid the ovation.

Oona Chaplin, 17, is in a school production. Photo: Andy Thomas
Oona Chaplin, 17, is in a school production. Photo: Andy Thomas
Mr Piedsky said the performance was "hypnotic", adding: "It's a very special experience for people to be part of.

"It's so ambitious - he's basically telling the story of the world from beginning to end."

Meanwhile, in the gardens of Edinburgh Academy, Oona Chaplin got a warm reception from a crowd of 120 at the open-air production.

She was dressed as her grandfather in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by the Morayshire Boarding School, Gordonstoun.

She sang and danced as Bottom and the other Mechanicals were also played by students dressed as silent film stars, including Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy.

Headmaster Mark Pyper said Ms Chaplin took the role the role "in her stride - but in a very modest way".

"She's very much one of the team, but while everyone enjoyed the whole play I do think it's quite a touching moment when she gets the stick out and walks a bit like her grandfather.," he said.


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