Washington National Opera has announced that the Ring production that it co-commissioned with San Francisco Opera, directed by Francesca Zambello, will be presented in three cycles from April 30 to May 22, 2016, at the Kennedy Center Opera House.
The conductor is Philipp Auguin, music director of the WNO, whose Tristan last year was terrific. At the Met he has conducted Die Frau Ohne Schatten and Lohengrin.
Nina Stemme, whose role debut as Brünnhilde in San Francisco was a triumph, will take on that role in the third cycle (May 17-22). Catherine Foster will make her U.S. debut in cycles I (April 30 – May 6) and II (May 10 – 15). American tenor Daniel Brenna will sing Siegfried and Alan Held will portray Wotan.
This production, so astounding in San Francisco, had a troubled birth in Washington, where it was meant to premiere. Rheingold was mounted in 2006 and Walküre in 2007. Financial challenges were surmounted to permit Siegfried to be staged in 2009, but Gőtterdämmerung’s staging was cancelled, as was the intended presentation of the entire cycle. The final work was performed in concert in 2009 and the production was first seen in its entirely in San Francisco in 2011.
The production, dubbed by some the “American Ring,” is intelligent, provocative and (to this American) unexpectedly moving. It vindicates Wagner’s conviction that myths resonate with subliminal power for those who embrace them, and reveal distinct truths about our national experience. My thoughts on the San Francisco Ring were posted on this blog here and here.
“Sponsorship packages with priority seating” (I shudder to think!) go on sale in September 2014. “Subscription packages” will be available Spring 2015.