Act II of the Ring Cycle at SF Opera: last night, die Walküre. Das Rheingold was two and a half hours, just a teaser compared to the next three heavy weight operas, all getting bigger and none shorter than four and half hours. The sequence of starting times goes 8pm, 7pm, 6:30pm and 1pm to match. Die Walküre had an earlier run just a year ago, same Zambello/Runnicles production with some of the same lead singers, so instead of repeating ourselves a lot, let's just do a play-by-play of the evening.

6:45pm We arrive in the press room of the opera house, where the usual coffee pot has been replaced with a giant coffee vat and cans of Red Bulls are kindly offered. Is there a chance a music critic might fall asleep? Oh no sir, not us, no way. But maybe one of the jet-lagged visitors in town for the annual meeting of the Music Critics Association of Northern America.