CHICAGO (5/2/2019) – Tickets for Lyric Opera of Chicago's enthralling new production of Richard Wagner's epic Der Ring des Nibelungen are now on sale.
Lyric's musically and theatrically unforgettable new staging of this four-part masterpiece can be seen in its entirety for the first time when the world-renowned opera company presents the Ring cycle three times in the spring of 2020. Go to lyricopera.org/RING or call 312-827-5600 to reserve before the cycles sell out.
"There is no greater challenge, and no greater opportunity, for an opera company than to undertake a new Ring cycle," says Anthony Freud, Lyric's general director, president & CEO. "The vocal, orchestral, visual, and technical requirements are extraordinary, and so are the rewards -- first and foremost for our audience, but also for the artists, the musicians, and everyone behind the scenes. It is truly a life-changing experience. "
Lyric's outstanding international cast stars Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde, Eric Owens as Wotan/Wanderer, Burkhard Fritz as Siegfried, Samuel Youn as Alberich, Tanja Ariane Baumgartner as Fricka/Waltraute, Elisabet Strid and Laura Wilde as Sieglinde, Brandon Jovanovich as Siegmund/Froh, Stephen Milling as Hunding/Hagen, Ronnita Miller as Erda/First Norn, Stefan Margita and Robert Brubaker as Loge, Matthias Klink as Mime, Soloman Howard as Fafner, and Henning von Schulman as Fasolt.
Das Rheingold opened Lyric's 2016/17 season, followed by Die Walküre in 2017/18 and Siegfried in 2018/19. Götterdämmerung, the final opera of the tetralogy, will have just two performances in early April 2020, before the three full cycles commence.
Directed by David Pountney, Lyric's Ring will be conducted by music director Sir Andrew Davis, who also led Lyric's 2005 cycle performances. It is the esteemed British director's first full Ring cycle and the first all-new North American Ring cycle since 2012. "When Sir Andrew and I first spoke to David about creating Lyric's new Ring, we told him we wanted to reclaim this masterpiece for the theater," Freud says. "David has set each opera within the framework of an old theater, yet within that structure, the worlds of each opera are quite different."
An incomparably revelatory, exhilarating, and immersive experience awaits Lyric's Ring ticket-holders, who will travel to Chicago from around the world next spring. They will see and hear the four-part cycle in a communal journey over the course of a single week, as Wagner intended.
They can also participate in a full slate of ancillary activities (talks, tours, tastings, comedy, recitals, and more) during each cycle, to enhance and illuminate their Ring journey.
There are just three weeks in 2020 in during which to experience Lyric's new Ring:
Cycle 1: April 13, 14, 16, 18
Cycle 2: April 20, 21, 23, 25
Cycle 3: April 27, 29, May 1, 3 (matinees)
Pountney's extraordinary creative team for Lyric's Ring includes original set designer Johan Engels (1952-2014), set designer Robert Innes Hopkins, costume designer Marie-Jeanne Lecca, lighting designer Fabrice Kebour, and choreographer Denni Sayers. (Engels, Lecca, and Kebour also collaborated with Pountney on the stunning production of Weinberg's The Passenger, seen at Lyric in the 2014/15 season.)
The Ring is a treasured pursuit for devotees of Wagner's majestic through-composed musical storytelling, inspired by multiple mythologies. "Ringheads" or "Ring nuts," as these enthusiasts sometimes call themselves, travel the world to experience as many different cycles as possible. When Lyric sold out its first and second full Ring cycles in 1996 and 2005, visitors came from every state and 20+ foreign countries. Groups from New York, Boston, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Austria, Australia, New Zealand have already purchased tickets for Lyric's new Ring production.
Those who haven't yet embarked on the Ring journey can be assured that the storytelling is powerfully compelling and will quickly draw them in, with characters frequently providing backstories to keep the narrative strands clearly defined.
Savvy fans of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Game of Thrones series, and the Star Wars movies are also drawn to Wagner's massive masterpiece, which inspired and influenced those works and many others. (Common elements include power struggles, greed, incest, supernatural creatures, disguises, and magical powers.) Those who have enjoyed giving themselves over to these absorbing series on large and small screens will be blown away by the power and intimacy of the live music and drama embodied by Wagner's Ring, and the singular experience of binge-watching these riveting live performances over the course of a single week.
As Alex Ross has noted in The New Yorker, "It's not clear whether George R. R. Martin, the creator of Game of Thrones, has Wagnerian leanings, but the proliferation of Ring-like elements in his saga—dragons, dwarves, ravens, magic swords, shape-shifting devices—suggests that, like J. R. R. Tolkien before him, he may owe a few debts to [Wagner,] the wizard of Bayreuth."
In a New York Times essay, Steven R. Weisman wrote about experiencing his first full Ring and linked the popularity of the Star Wars and Harry Potter series to the Ring: "In these hardened times, we cannot seem to get enough of monsters, evil dwarfs, magic potions, invisibility cloaks, mystical weapons, heroes searching for their true identity and deliverance through the power of love. All these elements are in Wagner's Ring."
Reviewing Lyric's new Das Rheingold in 2016, The New Yorker praised the "playful, buoyant production," the "impressive depth" of the cast, and the "vigor and heft" of the Lyric Opera Orchestra. The New York Times noted that "the episodes of high drama had plenty of vigor and clarity" and were "compellingly acted" in Lyric's new Die Walküre in 2017, hailing Eric Owens as "a magnificent Wotan" and Christine Goerke for her "sumptuous, powerful and exciting" singing. Reviewing the new Siegfried in 2018, the Chicago Tribune declared the "new Lyric production was...visually arresting, dramatically provocative and...beautifully sung."
LYRIC'S NEW RING CYCLE
The Ring of the Nibelung (Der Ring des Nibelungen)
by Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
Curtain times for Lyric's new RING cycle:
Cycle 1: Mon Apr 13/7:30pm, Tue Apr 14/6pm, Thu Apr 16/6pm , Sat Apr 18/5:30pm
Cycle 2: Mon Apr 20/7:30pm, Tue Apr 21/6pm, Thu Apr 23/6pm, Sat Apr 25/5:30pm
Cycle 3: Mon Apr 27/2pm, Wed Apr 29/2pm, Fri May 1/2pm, Sun May 3/2:30pm
Sung in German with projected English translations
Seen as individual operas, each of these four works is an impressive feat of drama, theater, and thrilling music. Experienced over the course of a single week in a cycle, as intended, the four works meld into an extraordinary and immersive story, comprising one of the greatest musical achievements in Western culture.
Sir Andrew Davis
Original Set Designer:
Robert Innes Hopkins
Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold)
Three performances, April 13, 20, 27, 2020
The journey begins with the Rhinemaidens guarding the magical gold that can be transformed into a ring that grants its owner unlimited power. Alberich steals the gold, and the epic struggle among the legendary characters unfolds, as Wotan, king of the gods, vies for supreme power. Thrilling drama and music of vast proportions propel the mythic tale.
Robert Brubaker (April 27)
Tanja Ariane Baumgartner
Henning von Schulman*
°Ryan Opera Center alumnae
Die Walküre (The Valkyrie)
Three performances, April 14, 21, 29, 2020
This riveting, devastating drama involves complex relationships between brother and sister, husband and wife, father and daughter. Each character is unforgettable -- valiant Siegmund and his beloved Siglinde, headstrong Brünnhilde and mighty but agonized Wotan, determined Fricka and vengeful Hunding. Lyrical intensity alternates with overwhelming power and majesty in this incredible music drama.
Laura Wilde° (April 29)
Tanja Ariane Baumgartner
TBA (April 29)
°Ryan Opera Center alumna
Three performances, April 16, 23, May 1, 2020
The fearless youth Siegfried sets off on his valiant adventures, vanquishing the dragon Fafner and getting the better of his wickedly devious guardian, Mime. Will the hero heed the wisdom of his disguised grandfather Wotan, a.k.a. The Wanderer? What happens when he braves the magic fire, awakens the sleeping Brünnhilde, and they both discover love and destiny? Exhilarating music drives the extraordinary story.
The Wanderer (Wotan):
°Ryan Opera Center alumna
Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)
Three performances, April 18, 25, May 3, 2020
The climax and crowning glory of Wagner magnum opus centers on heroic Brünnhilde, who experiences horrific betrayal, desperate revenge, and finally profound understanding and acceptance. Her emotional journey (and the audience's) climaxes with the overwhelming Immolation Scene as Wagner brings to life the end of the old world and the beginning of a new one. Transcendent music and breathtaking drama bring the Ring journey to its unforgettable conclusion.
Tanja Ariane Baumgartner
Mary Elizabeth Williams*
°Ryan Opera Center alumna
ENHANCE YOUR RING EXPERIENCE
A wide range of ancillary activities will be available at the Lyric Opera House during the three weeks of Ring cycle performances in April/May 2020. These include:
Longer! Louder! Wagner! The Second City Wagner Companion performances
The Philosophy of the Ring lectures by University of Chicago scholar Martha Nussbaum
Discussions with the Ring creative team, cast members, and Sir Andrew Davis
The Music of Wagner recitals by members of the Ryan Opera Center
Flight of the Valkyries draft beer sampling events following performances of Das Rheingold
Pre-Opera Talks before each performance
These options may be purchased à la carte, or as part of an All-Access Pass costing $125. The All-Access Pass allows access to all Ring cycle ancillary activities. To learn more, go to lyricopera.org/RingEvents.
Membership in Lyric's Valhalla Circle provides complimentary access to additional exclusive perks while contributing to Lyric's productions and programming. With benefits built to enhance the Ring experience, Lyric has created this giving program for fans who want to support Lyric's fundraising efforts and receive membership perks like priority seating, behind-the-scenes access, exclusive dining options, complimentary event admissions, great deals on Ring merchandise, and more. Visit lyricopera.org/valhallacircle to learn more about Valhalla Circle benefits.
All Ring patrons will also be able to enjoy special pricing at several partner organizations around Chicago between Ring performances.
Out-of-town Ring patrons will have access to specially priced accommodations at a variety of hotels.
Groups of ten or more can purchase tickets by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-827-5927.