Statement: Lyric Opera of Chicago announces cast changes for RING 2020

Brian Mulligan to portray Wotan in Das Rheingold. Alan Held to portray Wotan in Die Walküre and Siegfried. They replace Eric Owens, who has withdrawn from the production.

CHICAGO (3/2/20)Anthony Freud, Lyric Opera of Chicago's general director, president & CEO, announced today that American bass-baritone Eric Owens has withdrawn from Lyric's upcoming Ring cycles in order to undergo treatment for ongoing health issues.

Owens made his role debut as Wotan, the chief god whose pursuit of the all-powerful ring leads to the end of the world, in Lyric's individual new productions of Das Rheingold (2016/17), Die Walküre (2017/18), and Siegfried (2018/19). He was scheduled to return to the role in Lyric's three full Ring cycles April 13-18, April 20-25, and April 27-May 3.

"All of us at Lyric, along with the creative and artistic teams from the Ring operas, are saddened by this news, but understand Eric's decision to withdraw from the production," said Freud.

American baritone Brian Mulligan will portray Wotan in Das Rheingold, the first opera in the four-part operatic saga. (Mulligan had been scheduled to sing the role of Donner; that role will now be sung by American baritone Zachary Nelson.)

American bass-baritone Alan Held will portray Wotan in Die Walküre and the Wanderer in Siegfried, the second and third operas of the cycle.

"I am deeply grateful to Anthony Freud, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir David Pountney, and all my Lyric colleagues for their support at this difficult time," said Owens. "I am also thankful for the enthusiasm and warmth Lyric's audiences have shown me over the years that I have lived and worked in Chicago. My heartfelt thanks to everyone for understanding, and my best wishes for the success of Lyric's amazing Ring."

About Lyric

About Lyric

Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to redefining what it means to experience great opera. The company is driven to deliver consistently excellent artistry through innovative, relevant, celebratory programming that engages and energizes new and traditional audiences.

Under the leadership of General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola, and Special Project Advisor Renée Fleming, Lyric is dedicated to reflecting, and drawing strength from, the diversity of Chicago. Lyric offers, through innovation, collaboration, and evolving learning opportunities, ever-more exciting, accessible, and thought-provoking audience and community experiences. We also stand committed to training the artists of the future, through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center; and to becoming increasingly diverse across our audiences, staff, programming, and artists—magnifying the welcoming pull of our art form, our company, and our city.

Through the timeless power of voice, the splendor of a great orchestra and chorus, theater, dance, design, and truly magnificent stagecraft, Lyric is devoted to immersing audiences in worlds both familiar and unexpected, creating shared experiences that resonate long after the curtain comes down.

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Photo: Kyle Flubacker