March 06, 2019

Lyric’s New Production of DIE WALKÜRE Thrills and Astonishes

November is Die Walküre month at Lyric. 

Our brand-new production of the most famous and most human of Wagner’s Ring operas opened to great acclaim on November 1, with seven performances through November 30 to engage the hearts, minds, and senses of Lyric audience.

Here’s a sampling of the accolades:

“Once again the singing by a splendid international cast, the stylish conducting of music director Andrew Davis, the fine orchestral work and production values all are of the highest international caliber….Lyric’s magisterial Wotan, bass-baritone Eric Owens, delivered the narrative with anguished intensity, the farewell with aching poignancy, opposite the charismatic Brünnhilde of Christine Goerke, like him in splendid voice from beginning to end of the performance. Owens brought a larger-than-life dramatic quality to the deeply conflicted god who realizes he is the cause of the gods’ unmaking. There was nobility in everything he sang….Goerke, America’s top dramatic soprano, was in vocally sumptuous, dramatically incisive command of a Wagnerian heroine she has made her own. She poured out easy floods of gleaming, penetrating, plush sound, scaling her ample voice to a whisper wherever needed. What’s more, she was fully invested in the Valkyrie’s emotional trajectory…”
— Chicago Tribune

“Breaking with conventions in Lyric’s grand, gargantuan Die Walküre...with [this] uniformly spectacular production...Wagner might just find his 21st century audience...the combination of remarkable singing, exceptionally vivid acting, mythic-modern design and extraordinary music unique….as designed by the late Johan Engels and realized by Robert Innes Hopkins (enhanced by Fabrice Kebour’s lighting and Marie-Jeanne Lecca’s costumes), the production begins in nature but then uses movable towers and bridges (plus a supremely modern palace at Valhalla) to suggest the infernal machine that is the desire for conquest and power.”
— Chicago Sun-Times

“Lyric scores with compelling new Walküre. Opera offers few more visceral thrills than a new, top-notch production of Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelungs….a mesmerizing amalgam of superb singing and imaginative staging springing from the bedrock of a highly charged, expressive orchestra. Die Walküre...had all of that in abundance at its premiere….all of the principals were in radiant voice and emotionally immersed in their roles….the sets underscore Pountney’s vision of the Ring as a rip-roaring good story, each opera a beguiling chapter in a book beginning ‘Once upon a time…’”
— Musical America

“Eric Owens...contributes an authoritative, resonantly sung Wotan that lays bare the god’s deepest thoughts. Christine Goerke’s agreeably impulsive Brünnhilde balances quietly absorbing singing against passages unfurled with her renowned vocal might. Elisabet Strid is a marvelous Sieglinde, radiant in the upper register, telling lower down and emotionally searing. Brandon Jovanovich’s Siegmund is...dramatically potent and sung with firm, bright tone. Tanja Ariane Baumgartner sings Fricka with a well-modulated mezzo-soprano, and Ain Anger is a barbaric Hunding. [Director] David Pountney is at his best.”
— Financial Times

“At the end of the stunning Act One of...Die Walküre at Lyric Opera of Chicago, I had a most remarkable experience. Audience members around me began saying ‘Wow!’ out loud….everyone seemed thrilled with the performance….The second installment of Lyric’s Ring Cycle proved an evening of glorious singing, moving drama, great conducting and orchestral playing provided by a cast of first-rate singing actors who brought the popular music drama to intense, exciting life.”
— Parterre

“Director David Pountney guides his golden-voiced actors into genuine physicality equal to outsized passions...Brandon Jovanovich (Siegmund) and Elisabet Strid (Sieglinde) embody the new opera-singing-actor for which a fresh audience clamors….these actors are also so comfortable in their bodies that they can live what is on the page…”
— Newcity

Photos: Cory Weaver