Kip Cranna moderated a panel discussion on Das Rheingold yesterday evening at Herbst Theatre. The panelists included conductor Donald Runnicles, baritone Mark Delavan (Wotan), baritone Richard Paul Fink (Alberich), mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore (Fricka), and associate director Christian Räth. There was a fair amount of good natured teasing between the singers and conductor. Everyone was quite excited about the new production, the so-called "American Ring." In this production Das Rheingold starts off in the United States around 1900 and ends in the 1920s, though it sounds like the giants were modeled after a photograph of American construction workers from 1932. Räth was specifically asked about how Erda was to be portrayed, and he said she has been changed from being a Native American to being something "more general."