Thursday, February 4, 2021

What to listen for during the Ring broadcast

Stephanie Blythe (Fricka) and Greer Grimsley (Wotan). Chris Bennion photo

Whether you're new to opera or a longtime fan, we hope you will tune in to enjoy our special broadcast of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle this February 2021! Tune in to Classical KING FM 98.1 or to enjoy a 2005 recording of the four-day opera. This “cycle” includes: Das Rheingold on Feb. 6, Die Walküre on Feb. 9, Siegfried on Feb. 11, and Götterdämmerung on Feb. 13. 

Enjoy these fun facts surrounding the 2005 Ringplus tips on what to listen forwhen you tune in

- At 10 a.m. this Saturday in Das Rheingold, be prepared to hear nothing but E-flat for several minutes! This note depicts the creation of the world, slowly evolving from the lowest-ever note on double-bass (the instrument used to go down only to E-natural; Wagner decided to start his epic with E-flat ‘cause it’d be the lowest note anyone had ever heard!).

- The Danish bass who sang Fasolt the giant, Stephen Milling, was over 6’6” in real life. Our Costume Shop didn’t need to work very hard to help him look larger-than-life!

- Mid-Das Rheingold, before noon this Saturday, listen for all the anvils in the percussion section when they go down to the mines of Nibelheim.

- According to some, Ewa Podles as Erda in Rheingold stole the show; a reviewer compared her voice to Mt. Rainier, towering over all of Seattle.

- Das Rheingold concludes with the music of “Entrance of the gods into Valhalla,” full of harps and the whole orchestra shimmering like a rainbow.

- In Die Walküre (at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9) the well-known orchestral highlights are the beginning and end of Act 3, first the “Ride of the Valkyries” and then the “Magic Fire Music.” But Act 1 is one of the most perfect dramatic shapes ever to appear on any stage, and Act 2 is a miraculous masterpiece.

Fafner (Fluffy) confronts Siegfried (Alan Woodrow); Rozarii Lynch photo

- About an hour into Die Walküre Act 2 Brünnhilde appears to Siegmund for the stately and terrifying “Annunciation of Death” scene. Wagner stole the noble melody here from an opera called Hans Heiling by Heinrich Marschner.

- "For the first minutes of Siegfried, (Thursday, Feb. 11), Steven Goldstein, in a bear suit, came onstage as the Bear," says Seattle Opera Dramaturg Jonathan Dean. "He was a wonderful tenor who was also covering the important role of Mime—performed by Tom Harper, who’d also sung Mime at our ’95 and ’01 Ring.

Gordon Hawkins (Gunther), Alan Woodrow (the dead Siegfried), and Marie Plette (Gutrune); Bill Mohn photo

- Götterdämmerung (on Saturday, Feb. 13) is full of fantastic orchestral passages, including Siegfried’s Rhine Journey & Funeral March (also known as “Trauermusik”).

- For 2005, we restaged the ending of Götterdämmerung completely, since in McCaw Hall we could use a trap door. (No trap in the old Seattle Opera House, where the production premiered in 2001.) A flying Rhine daughter kicked Hagen into the trap—he fell into oblivion—and a few seconds later a Valhalla set flew in and a platform rose up out of the trap with all the gods standing on it. Wotan gave Loge the signal: “Torch this place,” and fire shot up out of Loge’s hand just as the fire music started to burn down the world. The final tableau, for the last minute of music was a vision, drawn from the ancient poem “Voluspa” in the Elder Edda, of the forest renewing itself as the cycle of nature continues.

Marie Plette (Gutrune); Chris Bennion photo

During the upcoming Ring broadcasts, listeners will also be able to hear intermission chats featuring Christina Scheppelmann, General Director; Jonathan Dean, Dramaturg; Paul Rafanelli, Bassoon; Jeannie Wells Yablonsky, Violin; Connie Yun, Lighting Designer; Tim Buck, Master Stage Carpenter (& RING Flight & Fire Director); Kathy Boyer, Violin; Mark Robbins, Horn; Yasmine Kiss, Stage Manager;  Cris Reynolds, Assistant Stage Manager; Phil Kelsey, Assistant Conductor; Kristina Murti, Director of Marketing, and Alicia Moriarty, Assistant Production Director.

Special thanks to Nikhil Sarma, the KING FM audio engineer who’s been organizing all our opera re-broadcasts. 

To learn more about the upcoming Ring cycle broadcasts, go

No comments:

Post a Comment