This has been an exciting morning for us at Seattle Opera, as we've officially announced our summer 2013 production of Wagner’s four-opera epic, Der Ring des Nibelungen, as well as the composer’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, which will open the 2014/15 season the following summer. (Our Ring webpages went live this morning, too, so give them a visit for even more info!)
These back-to-back Wagner summers celebrate several important milestones: the 2013 bicentenary of Wagner’s birth, the 50th Anniversary of Seattle Opera, and the conclusion of Speight Jenkins’ 30 years as general director of Seattle Opera.
Photo by Chris Bennion
Seattle Opera’s critically acclaimed production of the Ring, directed by Stephen Wadsworth and featuring sets by Thomas Lynch, costumes by Martin Pakledinaz, and lighting by Peter Kaczorowski, returns for its fourth incarnation, this time under the baton of Asher Fisch, Principal Guest Conductor of Seattle Opera. Fisch, who has conducted Parsifal, Lohengrin, Der Rosenkavalier, Der Fliegende Holländer, and Tristan und Isolde for Seattle Opera, “ranks among the finest Ring conductors of our time,” according to Opus Magazine.
Making their Seattle Opera debuts in this production are Alwyn Mellor as Brünnhilde (click on her name to read her bio and hear a clip of her singing) and Stefan Vinke as Siegfried (click on his name to see a video trailer featuring him as Siegfried in Berlin).
Mellor is currently singing Isolde at Grange Park Opera in Hampshire, through July 3. According to Mike Reynolds of musicalcriticism.com, her “tone was full and generous, her sound focused, her sense of attack and forward momentum almost faultless...But as she sang, so she performed - this was a wild, spirited Irish princess onstage, a character brimming with energy from her first notes to her last. I found her totally convincing, full-blooded, exciting and a born Wagnerian singer.” Hugh Canning concurs in the Sunday Times: “Mellor's Isolde sounds Italianate, with lovely portamenti, gleaming high Cs and trenchant chest notes that add vim to her Act 1 Narration and Curse.”
Mellor is a Brünnhilde of choice for Den Nye Opera, Oper Leipzig, Longborough Festival Opera, Paris Opera, and Opera North; Vinke has sung Siegfried in Cologne, Leipzig, Berlin, Salzburg, Venice, and Lisbon. Greer Grimsley returns to Seattle Opera for the third time as Wotan, a role for which he won Seattle Opera’s 2005 Artist of the Year award. Other returning artists include Stephanie Blythe as Fricka, Margaret Jane Wray as Sieglinde, Stuart Skelton as Siegmund, Dennis Petersen as Mime, and Richard Paul Fink as Alberich.
Seattle Opera has only produced Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg once before, in the summer of 1989. Wagner’s magnificent comedy, which celebrates community, artistic leadership, and a balance of tradition and innovation in the arts, is the perfect way to honor the life-work of Speight Jenkins, who will be stepping down from his position on September 1, 2014. Asher Fisch will conduct.
Performances of the Ring are scheduled as follows: Cycle #1, August 4, 5, 7, & 9; Cycle #2, August 12, 13, 15, & 17; and Cycle #3, August 20, 21, 23, and 25, 2013.
Subscription performances of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg are scheduled for August 2, 7, 10, 13, 17, 20, and 23, 2014.
A fundraising campaign to support these two productions is currently underway. Donors to the campaign will receive priority ticketing options. For sponsorship information and individual gifts, please contact Rebecca Chawgo, Seattle Opera’s Associate Director of Development, at (206) 676-5519.