Griffith Park debuts new show in planetarium

GRIFFITH PARK, Calif. In a town that's long been star struck, the /*Griffith Park Planetarium*/ show has helped 13 million spectators reach for the stars. That's how many have sat in the planetarium's reclining seats since 1935 and watched the sun and stars and planets. Now, the observatory is about to launch an entirely new show.

"In a sense, you can say it's kind of theatric in the planetarium, but people for thousands of years have looked upon the sky as a stage in which great forces were on display. Things that seemed to drive the character of the earth," described Dr. Ed Krup, the observatory's director.

With the planetarium's brand new Zeiss star projector and two high-tech laser projectors, the new show, "/*Light of the Valkyries*/" combines ancient Teutonic myths with astronomical delights and finishes it off with the music of Richard Wagner.

"Our Scandinavian ancestors told stories about their gods to describe what they saw in nature, including the sky," said observatory lecturer Joe San Felippo as he set the scene for the show.

The show was designed to compliment /*L.A. Opera*/'s current Wagner "/*Ring Cycle Festival*/."

The idea is to show that it was a physical phenomenon like the northern lights that sparked ancient fantasies. Dr. Laura Danly, who worked on the /*Hubble Space Telescope*/ for /*NASA*/ produced the new show.

"We like to say it's not your grandfather's planetarium show. It really has evolved and the technologies have made what we can do in a theater like this so much greater," said Danly, a curator at the observatory.

"Light of the Valkryies" may be tied into the L.A. Opera, but those at the Griffith Park Observatory say the planetarium show will last a lot longer than the opera. It opens to the public starting Tuesday and they say it will probably run for at least a year.

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