The Drumf and the Rhinegold

Synopsis

Having stolen the magical Rhinegold, which grants world domination to its owner, the sinister Drumf is now poised to become leader of the free world. The gold’s guardians, the beautiful Rhinemaidens Ivana, Marla and Melania, race against time to reclaim their gold from his grubby clutches. After the consecutive failures of Ivana and Marla, can Melania succeed in wresting the gold from Drumf before her time runs out?

Director and polymath visual artist Doug Fitch teams up with a ragtag band of top tier NYC musicians (Claire Chase and members of ICE) to present a hilarious and biting political satire, just in time for the historic 2016 US Presidential Election. A 15-minute parody of Wagner’s 15-hour Ring Cycle, ‘The Drumf and the Rhinegold’ tells the story of the Rhinemaidens’ return to the human realm for one last fight against an evil overlord.

Team & Cast

Music by Matti Kovler
Book by Tasha Gordon-Solmon, Matti Kovler and Gil Varod. Lyrics by Tasha Gordon-Solmon, Matti Kovler, Gil Varod, Toby Lightman and Matthew Shifrin
Originally created for the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.

Director: Doug Fitch

Melania – Ariadne Greif (soprano)
Marla – Sophie Delphis (mezzo soprano)
Ivana – Casey Keenan (contralto)
Drumf’s Hair – Matthew Shifrin (countertenor)
Drumf’s Hair – Andy Manjuck (puppeteer)
Drumf – Lloyd Floyd (voice-over actor)

International Contemporary Ensemble
Conductor — Lidiya Yankovskaya
Flutes – Claire Chase
Ondes Martenot – Suzanne Farrin
Clarinet – Joshua Rubin
Bassoon – Rebekah Heller
Horn – David Byrd
Trombone – Mike Lormand
Percussion – Tyler Cunningham
Guitar – Daniel Lippel
Piano – Matti Kovler
Harp – Lucia Stavros
Violin – David Bowlin
Cello – Meaghan Burke
Double Bass – Tony Flynt

Reviews

Juventas Kicks Off
November 6, 2016, by Steve Landrigan

With 10 ensembles offering their work, the most memorable came from Floating Tower buoyed by Juventas New Music. It was the New England premiere of The Drumf and the Rhinegold by Matti Kovler. It offered Wagner’s rheinmaidens in a Trumpian universe where a dwarf named The Drumf has newly stolen the rheingold. The maidens, Melania (Ariadne Grief), Marla (Sophie Delphis), and Ivana (Casey Keenan), bewail its loss in full operatic gusto, with Marla and Ivana sporting in mermaid-like tails and bustiers enhanced with vast cones.

Melania, fearful that she will soon age out as a wife, sings a surprising heartfelt aria listing all the things she likes about being espoused to The Drumf, while lamenting that no one knows how difficult her life has been (…)

The piece could be dismissed as adolescent wit suitable for this adolescent election season were it not for the striking music. Kovler draws as readily from Sondheim as from Wagner, but melds those two its own. With no shortage of winks and nods, he has created something several cuts above pastiche. He appears to be contemplating the fork in the road that divides opera from musical theater. But in the few minutes spent with his Drumf it would seem that that he is not averse to looking for ways to blend the two. Someone to watch—which, ultimately, is the point of new music festivals.