March 06, 2019

The Journey Begins, the Rave Reviews for DAS RHEINGOLD

Lyric opened its 62nd season and launched its new Ring cycle Saturday, October 1, with a thrilling new production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold. The sold-out house roared its approval with an immediate standing ovation. Rave reviews from national and local critics are pouring in. What a great way to start the season — and the Ring!

The Chicago Tribune headline (and 4-star rating) says it all: “Pure Gold: Lyric Opera's new 'Rheingold' opens the season with vocal splendor….This Rheingold is nothing short of a triumph on all fronts, intelligently conceived by the creative team, brilliantly executed by a top-flight international cast representing the new generation of Wagner singers….Wagner's glorious score is played with rich, glowing, finely detailed sound by the splendid Lyric Opera Orchestra…under [Sir Andrew] Davis, who maintains supple musical continuity and alert synchronization with the stage.” As Wotan, the humanly fallible lord of the gods, Eric Owens “sang this touchstone Wagnerian role with nobility, depth, lyricism and surpassing tonal beauty, and he acted it with dignity….the saga is off to a shining start, modern Wagnerian music theater at its most compelling.”

The New York Times praises the “strong cast” and “lean-textured and urgent performance....Eric Owens…seemed destined to play the king of the gods. He sang with rich, deep sound and impeccable diction, and conveyed Wotan’s essential dignity.” 

The Chicago Sun-Times observes that Lyric’s production “is chilling at many points, full of splendor at others, and at moments comically mechanized. This is life as a vast spectacle of desire and treachery — alternately eye-poppingly beautiful and fearsome, and a sort of industrial revolution all its own….the production’s visual grandeur…clarifies and enhances the storytelling.”

Musical America calls the new production “utterly engrossing,” adding that the designs “are a perfect match for Pountney’s distinctive vision….Lyric’s cast was exceptionally strong, both vocally and dramatically, etching indelible portraits of Wagner’s rich array of characters….Eric Owens’s Wotan was a commanding figure, profoundly torn by an insatiable lust for power….Lyric’s orchestra under Music Director Andrew Davis offered a highly colored, expressive performance.”

Annie Rosen, Diana Newman, Lindsay Ammann, and Samuel Youn

The Financial Times notes director David Pountney’s “proven abilities come to the fore with arresting stage movement.”

Chicago Classical Review declares that the “terrific cast shines brightly” in this “fantastical tale of greed, ambition, lust, gods, giants, evil dwarves, and the end of the world,” adding that Sir Andrew Davis’s “conducting was fluent, meticulously balanced and always supportive of the singers while keeping the action moving as surely as the rolling of the Rhine….the playing of the Lyric Opera Orchestra was as polished, responsive and idiomatic as one would expect from this highly experienced Wagner ensemble.”

Tanja Ariane Baumgartner, Laura Wilde, Tobias Kehrer, Wilhelm Schwinghammer, Eric Owens

Chicago Theater and the Arts calls Lyric’s new Rheingold “a grand, exciting and dramatic interpretation.”

Evoking the recent Olympics, Stage & Cinema headlines its review, “Lyric Brings Home the Gold….Wagner’s Ring cycle has arrived in Chicago and it is magnificent.…if you’ve never seen it before, prepare yourself for an experience beyond imagining….Lyric Opera brings the full gamut of its immense resources to bear on this season-opening production, including the expanded orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, a cast of internationally renowned singers, and new stage equipment that significantly improves the company’s ability to create stunning visual effects.…ambitious and exciting.…a truly fantastic aesthetic.”

Declares New City, “There could not have been a more auspicious launch of the first installment of Lyric’s Ring cycle.”

New Lyric Opera production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold generously made possible by

Marlys A. Beider

Liz Stiffel

Helen and Sam Zell

Photo: Todd Rosenberg