Over two weeks, Radio 3 listeners can hear a complete Ring cycle
in live performances from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
Der Ring des Nibelungen is a cycle full of musical and dramatic extremes. The music ranges from Siegmund and Sieglinde’s rapturous love duet in Die Walküre to Hagen’s terrifying summoning of Gunther’s vassals. It encompasses Wotan’s despairing Act II monologue in Die Walküre and the violent close to Act II of Götterdämmerung, as well as Siegfried’s joyful forging song in Act I of Siegfried and the idyllic depiction of nature in Act II of Siegfried. Throughout the cycle, the richly varied orchestration and the use of motifs eloquently depict characters’ states of mind and events in the drama.
photocredit: Clive Barda/ROH 2012
In the words of the ROH:
The Royal Opera House production of Der Ring des Nibelungen uses symbols from myth and Wagner’s time, and even from the 20th century and the present day, bringing out both the realistic and fantastical elements in this operatic cycle. Genetics, astronomy, philosophy, 19th-century ideas on drama, industrialization and psychology are all explored in the designs and in director Keith Warner’s interpretation.
BBC Opera on 3 Guide to The Ring
TUESDAY 16 OCTOBER at 19.00
Bryn Terfel as Wotan and Sarah Connolly as Fricka. Photocredit: Cive Barda/ROT 2012
The cycle begins with Das Rheingold, in which Wagner sets up the theme of love and power that runs through the entire work.
At the centre of this musical universe is the chief of the gods, Wotan, played by the Welsh man-mountain Bryn Terfel in his first complete performance of the part in the UK … ”As Wotan, Terfel, now fully inside the role, has towering stage presence, intelligence, anguish, a sense of this god’s bloody-mindedness and fallibility. His “Farewell” to Brünnhilde stirred immense pathos” … Fiona Maddocks of The Observer.
Mezzo Sarah Connolly tackles her first Fricka … “The evening’s best performance undoubtedly came from Sarah Connolly, whose impeccable Fricka must have had Wagner sighing contentedly in whatever corner of hell he has been assigned – “that’s how I meant my music to be sung”… Rupert Christiansen of The Telegraph.
In Das Rheingold, the dwarf Alberich renounces love and steals the Rhinegold from which he forges a magic ring. Meanwhile Wotan, chief of the gods, has built his mighty fortress Valhalla with the help of the giants. But in order to pay them back, Wotan in turn needs to steal the Rhinegold back from Alberich. And so with this double theft Wagner sets up the theme of love versus power that reverberates throughout all four dramas.
This programme includes interviews with the artists and also with Wagner expert John Deathridge.
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Woglinde…..Nadine Livingston (Soprano)
Wellgunde….. Kai Rüütel (Mezzo-Soprano)
Flosshilde…..Harriet Williams (Mezzo-Soprano)
Alberich…..Wolfgang Koch (Baritone)
Wotan…..Bryn Terfel (Bass-Baritone)
Fricka…..Sarah Connolly (Mezzo-Soprano)
Freia…..Ann Petersen (Soprano)
Fasolt…..Iain Paterson (Bass)
Fafner…..Eric Halfvarson (Bass)
Froh…..Andrew Rees (Tenor)
Donner…..Peter Coleman-Wright (Baritone)
Loge…..Stig Andersen (Tenor)
Mime…..Gerhard Siegel (Tenor)
Erda…..Maria Radner (Contralto)
Orchestra of The Royal Opera House, Conductor Antonio Pappano.
Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Comment and beautiful photos from Intermezzo
Some reviews, photos and Tweets after the opening night of Das Rheingold