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The Drumf and the Rhinegold

an operatic apocalypse

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Striking music. Kovler draws as readily from Sondheim as from Wagner, but melds those two its own

Steve Landrigan  Boston Musical Intelligencer


An immersive parody of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, ‘The Drumf ’ tells the story of the Rhinemaidens’ return to the human realm for one last fight against an evil overlord.
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, Rhinemaidens Ivana, Marla and Melania, race against time to reclaim their gold from his grubby clutches. Can they succeed in wrestling their gold before it’s too late?
The exceedingly short operetta was the centerpiece of an immersive installation offering audiences a window into the decadence and absurdity of Trump’s world against the backdrop of a 7,000 sq.ft. condemned space in a Manhattan tower. Told entirely from the perspectives of Ivana, Marla and Melania, the story doesn’t allow Drumf a word in edgewise. The farce culminated with a not-to-be-missed Drumf take-down in a water pool. ​​The show was produced in NYC and Boston during the week preceding the historic 2016 US Presidential Election, in collaboration with a ragtag band of top tier NYC musicians from the International Contemporary Ensemble (spearheaded by Claire Chase) director Doug Fitch  (New York Phil) and designer/illustrator Peter Savieri (The Muppets). All proceeds from the production were donated to
'Drumf’ originated at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, in collaboration with lyricist Tasha Gordon Solmon, and was further developed during a residency at Pioneer Works.




Chamber Version

sop,mez,contr.alt,contr.ten, fl(afl.bfl),cl,ob,bn,hn,tb, egtr,perc,hrp,pf,om,vn,vc,cb

sopr, ct/cl/string quartet/vibr

October 31, 2016

Blue Building, NYC

International Contemporary Ensemble

Lidiya Yankovskaya (conductor)

Ariadne Greif - Soprano (Melania)

Sophie Delphis - Mezzo Soprano (Marla)

Casey Keenan - Contralto (Ivana)

Matthew Shifrin - Countertenor (Rhinegold)

Music by Mátti Kovler, Book by Tasha Gordon-Solmon, Mátti Kovler and Gil Varod. Lyrics by Tasha Gordon Solmon, Gil Varod,, Matthew Shifrin and Toby Lightman.r


With 10 ensembles offering their work, the most memorable came from Floating Tower. It was the New England premiere of The Drumf and the Rhinegold  by Mátti Kovler. It offered Wagner’s rheinmaidens in a Trumpian universe where a dwarf named Drumf has newly stolen the rheingold. The maidens 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!

Steve Landrigan Boston Musical Intelligencer 

The Drumf and the Rhinegold | The Blue Building (2016)

Floating Tower

19:23 min, full version




Аманда Купер, ALC Management  


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