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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); W