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Seattle Opera.

2013 Ring

Ring  Cycle Dates

Cycle I: August 4 - 9, 2013
Cycle II: August 12 - 17, 2013
Cycle III: August 20 - 25, 2013

Overview

By Richard Wagner

Wagner’s epic cycle has been the heart of Seattle Opera since 1975. This extraordinary artist took a wondrous legend from ancient northern Europe, arranged it into drama following the theatrical tradition of ancient southern Europe, and with the most compelling music hitherto created in the West, explored all the issues of the modern world. Political issues, about the warring of the tribes and nations, about labor and capitol and power struggles between competing ideologies. And psychological issues—stories about people from broken homes, about messed-up relationships between parents and children, about love and sex and marriage and unfulfillable need. And philosophical issues: a story that questions the nature of good, the origin of evil, and that climaxes in the death of a god. Whoever we are, we continue to find our story in the Ring. This award-winning Seattle Opera production, inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, was unveiled in 2001 to wide acclaim, and revived for sold-out audiences in 2005, 2009, and 2013. You can purchase a recording of the 2013 performances, conducted by Asher Fisch and starring a dream cast of the world’s leading Wagner singers, online and as a CD

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Synopsis

Das Rheingold, the prelude to the Ring, begins when the Nibelung dwarf Alberich steals the precious gold of the Rhine river in order to be avenged upon the pretty but scornful Rhine daughters. The ambitious sky god Wotan, in need of treasure to pay for the construction of a glorious castle in the sky, captures Alberich and pays off his own debt with the magic ring the dwarf made from the gold. But Alberich curses the ring, and the evil of the curse immediately causes bloodshed. As the gods cross a rainbow bridge to enter Valhalla, their splendid new castle, the forlorn cries of the bereft Rhine daughters remind us that all its glittering glory is a sham.

Die Walküre, which features the unforgettable “Ride Of The Valkyries” and the thrilling “Magic Fire Music,” is equal parts heady romance and high-stakes family drama. Deep in the forest, love blossoms between a dashing outlaw and a woman trapped in a loveless marriage. But their adulterous, incestuous coupling draws the ire of the goddess of marriage, who demands that the twins be punished. The Valkyrie Brünnhilde, moved by the pair’s overwhelming love, takes their side. Sieglinde escapes to bear her brother Siegmund’s son, while Wotan punishes Brünnhilde by casting her out of heaven and leaving her in an enchanted slumber—albeit protected by a threatening ring of fire.

The sunny comedy Siegfried follows the growth of the innocent young hero born of the incestuous twins. As the naïve boy seeks companionship—and tries to learn the meaning of fear—he frees himself from the treacherous dwarf Mime, liberates the ring from the dread dragon Fafner, shatters the spear of the mighty god Wotan, and rescues lovely Brünnhilde from her magical sleep and falls in love with her.

Götterdämmerung, the Ring’s overwhelming conclusion, features the beloved “Rhine Journey,” “Siegfried’s Funeral March,” and “Brünnhilde’s Immolation.” Its story moves from the gloomy prophecies of the three Norns who spin the web of fate, to the glorious union of Siegfried and Brünnhilde high atop their fire-surrounded rock, to the scheming machinations of Hagen, duplicitous advisor to the shallow King Gunther. Drugged into forgetting his vow of fidelity to Brünnhilde, Siegfried offers her to Gunther in exchange for Gunther’s lovely sister, Gutrune. In revenge, Brünnhilde betrays Siegfried, who gets stabbed in the back; but as atonement she sacrifices her own life, burns up the defunct gods in their heaven, cleanses the world of the curse on the ring, restores the stolen gold to the river, and makes possible a new beginning.

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Cast

Alwyn Mellor

Brünnhilde

Seattle Opera Debut: Brunnhilde, Der Ring des Nibelungen (’13)

Hometown: Lancashire, England
Recently: Minnie, La fanciulla del West and Brünnhilde, Götterdämmerung (Opera North); Isolde, Tristan und Isolde (Washington National Opera)
Upcoming: Senta, The Flying Dutchman (Florentine Opera Company); Brünnhilde, Siegfried (Symphony Hall, Boston); Isolde, Tristan und Isolde (Opéra national de Bordeaux)

Last updated: December 2014

Alwyn Mellor

Brünnhilde

Seattle Opera debut

Stefan Vinke

Siegfried

German tenor Stefan Vinke makes his Seattle Opera debut as Siegfried, a role he first sang in Cologne (2006) and Venice (2008), followed by Lisbon, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Leipzig, Strasbourg, and Royal Opera Covent Garden. In Götterdämmerung he sang Siegfried in the Salzburg Easter Festival, Stuttgart, La Fenice, Lisbon, and Cologne. From 2006 to 2012 he was engaged by Leipzig Opera to sing lead tenor roles in all of their Wagner productions. Other Wagner appearances include Tristan in Tristan und Isolde and Walther von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in Bayreuth, Lohengrin in Berlin and Beijing, and Tristan in Hong Kong. Other roles include Paul in Die Tote Stadt at Opera Australia and Venice; Un Emigrante in Intolleranza in Munich and Venice; Don José in Carmen and Tristan in Warsaw; Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos in Paris, Geneva, and Leipzig; and Tristan with Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2013. Next season he will sing Parsifal at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Siegfried for Enescu Festival Bucharest, Seville, and Melbourne Opera, and later in Toronto and Barcelona.

Last Updated: August 2013

Stefan Vinke

Siegfried

Seattle Opera debut

Greer Grimsley

Wotan, The Wanderer

At Seattle Opera in 2015/16: The Dutchman, The Flying Dutchman
Seattle Opera Debut: Telramund, Lohengrin (’94) 
Previously at Seattle Opera: Scarpia, Tosca (’15); Wotan, Der Ring des Nibelungen (’05, ’09,’13); Don Pizarro, Fidelio (’12)

Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Recently: Jochanaan, Salome (New National Theatre Tokyo); Scarpia, Tosca (San Diego Opera); The Dutchman, The Flying Dutchman (Ravinia Festival)
Upcoming: Sweeney Todd, Sweeney Todd (Glimmerglass Opera); Wotan, Die Walküre (New National Theatre Tokyo); Jochanaan, Salome (The Metropolitan Opera)

Last updated: April 2016

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Greer Grimsley

Wotan, The Wanderer

Stephanie Blythe

Fricka, 2nd Norn, Waltraute in Götterdämmerung

At Seattle Opera in 2014/15: Ino/Juno, Semele

Hometown: Mongaup Valley, NY
Seattle Opera Debut: Fricka, Das Rheingold (’00)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Fricka and Waltrautre (Götterdämmerung), Der Ring des Nibelungen ('13);  Mistress Quickly, Falstaff (’10); Isabella, L’italiana in Algeri (’08) 
Seattle Opera Artist of the Year: Amneris, Aida (’08)
Recently: Azucena, Il trovatore (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Gertrude Stein, Twenty-Seven (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis); Ulrica, Un ballo in maschera (San Diego Opera)
Upcoming: Baba the Turk, The Rake’s Progress (Metropolitan Opera); Ms. Lovett, Sweeney Todd (San Francisco Opera)

Last Updated: February 2015

Stephanie Blythe

Fricka, 2nd Norn, Waltraute in Götterdämmerung

Stuart Skelton

Siegmund

Stuart Skelton made his Seattle Opera debut as Siegmund in 2009. He has also sung the role at the Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, and in Adelaide, Zürich, and Hamburg. His other Wagner roles include Parsifal, Lohengrin, Rienzi, and Erik in Der Fliegende Holländer. Recent performances include the title role of Peter Grimes at the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Opera de Oviedo, and at the BBC Proms; Lohengrin at the Dresden Semperoper; and Parsifal at the Zürich Opera. Other roles include Florestan in Fidelio, the Emperor in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos, Laca in Jenufa, Samson in Samson et Dalila, and Canio in Pagliacci. Skelton has performed in Berlin, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Vienna, and throughout his native Australia. Future plans include Fidelio and Peter Grimes at the English National Opera, Siegmund at Opera Australia, and concert performances of Peter Grimes with both the San Francisco Symphony and London Philharmonic, as well as concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and BBC Symphony.

Last Updated: August 2013

Stuart Skelton

Siegmund

Margaret Jane Wray

Sieglinde, 3rd Norn

Margaret Jane Wray has sung Sieglinde and the Third Norn in Seattle Opera’s past three complete Ring cycles. Her other performances with the company include Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde and Amneris in Aida. Wray recently performed Isolde in Tristan und Isolde at Canadian Opera Company. At the Metropolitan Opera, Wray has sung Amneris, Brangäne, Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana, Ortrud in Lohengrin, the Third Norn, Gutrune, and Sieglinde, a role she has also sung in Austin, Toulouse, and Nice. Wray’s performances overseas include Amneris at Welsh National Opera, Mme. Lidoine in Dialogues des Carmélites at Teatro alla Scala, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro at Paris Opéra-Bastille, Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie and Teatro Regio, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at Oper Frankfurt, Chrysothemis in Elektra in Berlin, Elisabeth in Tannhäuser in Toulouse, Leonore in Beethoven’s Fidelio in Catania, and Desdemona in Otello in Nice. Other US credits include Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer with Pittsburgh Opera and Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking with Cincinnati Opera.

Last Updated: August 2013

Margaret Jane Wray

Sieglinde, 3rd Norn

Richard Paul Fink

Alberich

Richard Paul Fink made his Seattle Opera debut in 1996 as Gérard in Andrea Chénier. Other roles in Seattle have included Amonasro in Aida, Jochanaan in Salome, Don Pizarro in Fidelio, and Klingsor in Parsifal, a role he has previously sung at the Metropolitan Opera. He has sung Alberich at every performance of the current Seattle Opera Ring, and at the Met, LA Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and San Francisco Opera. Additional performances at the Met include Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde, George Wilson in The Great Gatsby, and Edward Teller in Doctor Atomic. This Ohio/Texas baritone has appeared with Paris Opéra-Bastille, Berlin State Opera, the Salzburg Festival, Teatro Real in Madrid, Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile, Opera La Fenice, Sydney Opera, New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Houston Grand Opera, among others. Fink’s many other roles include the title roles of Der Fliegende Holländer, Wozzeck, Nabucco, Macbeth, and Rigoletto, Telramund in Lohengrin, the four villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Scarpia in Tosca, Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, and Kissinger in Nixon in China.

Last updated: August 2013

Richard Paul Fink

Alberich

Dennis Petersen

Mime

Dennis Petersen returns for his second Ring cycle to perform Mime, a role he has previously sung at the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. He has been a regular at the Met since 1995 with roles including Spoletta in Tosca, Bob Boles in Peter Grimes, and Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte. Petersen has also returned to San Francisco Opera nearly every year since 1985 in roles such as Pang in Turandot, Goro in Madama Butterfly, and Monostatos. At the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan, Petersen has performed Goro, the School Master in The Cunning Little Vixen, and will return to perform Bardolfo in Falstaff next year. Recent performances include Erdisi in King Roger at Santa Fe Opera and Herodes in Salome in Winnepeg. He has also performed at Minnesota Opera, Israeli Opera, New York City Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, and Michigan Opera Theatre. Upcoming engagements include the Detective in Muhly’s Two Boys and Incredible in Andrea Chénier at the Met.

Last Updated: August 2013

Dennis Petersen

Mime

Daniel Sumegi

Fafner, Hagen

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Zuniga, Carmen

Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Seattle Opera Debut: Daland, The Flying Dutchman (’07)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Fafner and Hagen, Der Ring des Nibelungen (’09 and ’13); Daland, The Flying Dutchman (’16); Don Basilio, The Barber of Seville (’17) ; Don Pedro, Beatrice and Benedict (’18); Ramfis, Aida (’18)
Recently: Pogner, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Opera Australia); Jokanaan, Salome (Israeli Opera); The Dutchman, The Flying Dutchman (Malmö Opera)
Upcoming: Judge Turpin, Sweeney Todd (TEG/Lifelike Touring)

Last updated: April 2019

Daniel Sumegi

Fafner, Hagen

Andrea Silvestrelli

Fasolt, Hunding

At Seattle Opera in 2013/14: Fasolt/Hunding, Der Ring des Nibelungen and Sparafucile, Rigoletto

Hometown: Ancona, Italy
Seattle Opera Debut: Fasolt/Hunding, Der Ring des Nibelungen (’09)
Previously at Seattle Opera:  Fasolt/Hunding, Der Ring des Nibelungen (’13)
Recently: Don Basilio, Il barbiere di Siviglia (San Francisco Opera); Colline, La bohème, and Sparafucile, Rigoletto (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Upcoming: Fafner, Das Rheingold (Houston Grand Opera)



Last Updated: January 2014

Andrea Silvestrelli

Fasolt, Hunding

Mark Schowalter

Loge

Mark Schowalter makes his Seattle Opera debut with his performance of Loge. Schowalter’s recent engagements include the role of Piet the Pot in György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre with the New York Philharmonic and Spalanzani in Les contes d’Hoffman and Mayor Upfold in Albert Herring at Santa Fe Opera. Currently in his seventeenth consecutive season at the Metropolitan Opera, he has performed a variety of supporting roles there, including Spalanzani, Jaquino in Fidelio, St. Brioche in Die Lustige Witwe, Scaramuccio in Ariadne auf Naxos, Kouzka in Khovanshchina, Tchaplitsky in Pique Dame, and L’Aumonier in this season’s revival of Dialogues des Carmélites. Other roles include Bob Boles in Peter Grimes at the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan, and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Italy; the Youth in Moses und Aron with the Munich Philharmonic, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Florentine Opera; and Le Mari in Les Mamelles de Tirésias with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at the Festival de Lanaudière.

Last Updated: August 2013

Mark Schowalter

Loge

Seattle Opera debut

Markus Brück

Donner, Gunther

German baritone Markus Brück makes his US and Seattle Opera debut as Donner and Gunther. He has also performed these roles at Deutsche Opera Berlin, where he has been a member since 2001. In the 2012/13 season, he has performed the roles of Amfortas in Parsifal, Captain Balstrode in Peter Grimes, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Germont in La traviata, and Leander in The Love for Three Oranges, among others. His repertoire also includes Wolfram in Tannhäuser, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Marcello in La bohème, and Posa in Don Carlo. Brück has sung at the Bayreuth and Bregenz festivals, and guest engagements have led him to the Cologne Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Semperoper Dresden, Oper Frankfurt, Teatro alla Scala, Opéra National de Paris, the State Operas in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Stuttgart, the Volksoper Vienna, and to Istanbul, Seoul, Santiago, and Tokyo. Upcoming roles at Deutsche Oper Berlin include Gunther and Wotan (Das Rheingold), Falstaff, Rigoletto, Marcello, Don Giovanni, Captain Redburn (Billy Budd), and Chorèbe (Les Troyens).

Last updated: August 2013

Markus Brück

Donner, Gunther

Seattle Opera debut

Wendy Bryn Harmer

Freia, Gerhilde, Gutrune

At Seattle Opera in 2015/16: Senta, The Flying Dutchman
Seattle Opera Debut: Freia/Gerhilde/Gutrune, Der Ring des Nibelungen (’13)

Hometown: Roseville, CA
Recently: Ariadne, Ariadne auf Naxos (Palm Beach Opera); Leonore, Fidelio (Opera Omaha)
Upcoming:  Soprano Soloist, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (San Francisco Symphony); First Lady, The Magic Flute (The Metropolitan Opera); Abigail Adams, My Dearest Friend (NY Symphony Space)

Last updated: April 2016

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Wendy Bryn Harmer

Freia, Gerhilde, Gutrune

Seattle Opera debut