Mastodon Siegfried (New Production) LFO: An Overview With Music - The Wagnerian

Siegfried (New Production) LFO: An Overview With Music

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 12 July 2011 | 7:49:00 pm

"This Longborough Ring is becoming better than any at Bayreuth for years, possibly since Wieland Wagner’s first post-war version.
I am simply lost in admiration for it all, and I suggest that he deserves every possible support that the Wagner Society can give him towards his vision of a complete Ring in the Wagner centenary year of 2013. (
The Wagner Society News)"
What makes Wagnerians/Wagnerites (or whatever name you chose) go to the extremes that they do? Some will buy every recording ever made; read every book ever written; travel the world to see every performance of every cycle of the Ring, even start their own academic journal! They will spend enormous amounts of money in pursuit of that Wagner "fix". Few, if any, other composer finds such obsessive "followers" (if that is what they really are - but that is a discussion for another time). However, no matter how powerful the "addiction" very few would - or have -  built their own opera house, just to hear the perfect Ring, in their own "back garden. Yet this is exactly what the Grahams have done (see here for an overview). This year  23 July, sees the premier of Siegfried, next Götterdämmerung and in 2013 an entire ring cycle.  For those interested, I present this overview. For more information - and the few remaining tickets - go to LFO website here:

danielbrennaSiegfried - Daniel Brenna

Born the USA, he studied music performance at Boston University, receiving Master of Music and an opera diploma.
While a Tanglewood Fellow, he sang Bernstein’s Songfest with the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra under the musical direction of Seiji Ozawa, and Milhaud’s L´Homme et son désir under Daniel Harding. He appeared in a number of roles in the USA, as well as in a Wagner concert with the Washington D.C. Wagner Society.
Since 2006 he has sung such roles as Turridu, Riccardo, Hans, Siegmund, Max, Grigorij Boris… In Summer 2010, he sang at the renowned Opera Festival St. Margarethen and in 2011 he made his debut at the Zürich Opera House as Aron (Christoph von Dohnányi/ Achim Freyer), a role he sung before with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestera.

And what have the press said of his Wagner? (Forgive the poor German translation but time waits, etc)
Theater Görlitz – Die Walküre - SIEGMUND
''And, as sung,  acted and played, that is the next surprise… In the end, we have the ballad of Siegmund and Sieglinde impressively interpretted by the Görlitz Ensemble members Daniel Brenna and Yvonne Reich. Brenna’s youthful tenor, Reich’s vulnerable, knowing Soprano, both make the most of the musical extremes, surrendering themselves to the music and to the audience. Wagner singing in the dimensions of a song evening, ranging from delicate passages of internalized speech to highly charged emotional outbursts.'
'…Daniel Brenna is  musically and dramatically a discovery: very worth hearing.' - Sächsische Zeitung
'...Yvonne Reich (Sieglinde), Daniel Brenna (Siegmund), and Gary Jankowski (Hunding) carry production. They perform the music, they live in the characters, they play their believable relationships. They sing Wagner and his verses movingly. Their voices bloom. The text is understandable, working in its foreign artificiality with the pathos of the music. The result is a gripping hour of musical theater, thus Wagner finds its audience in Görlitz. Bravo!'   - Sächsische Zeitung

Brünnhilde – Alwyn Mellor


Mellor is certainly a wagnerian soprano to watch. Having just completed one of the most extraordinary Isoldes I have ever seen, at Grange Park (see my review here), she will be off to Seattle as Brunnhilda in their 2013 Ring Cycle. Catch her in the UK while you can. Born in Lancashire, Alwyn Mellor began her career where she has enjoyed a wide range of roles, most recently appearing as Tosca. She has sung three seasons at Santa Fe Opera and other companies with whom she has appeared include the Canadian Opera Company, Opéra-Théâtre de Limoges, English National Opera, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Opera Ireland and Opera North. In concert she has appeared widely throughout the UK and Europe, and sang Brünnhilde Die Walküre for Longborough Festival Opera last Summer. Future engagements include Minnie La Fanciulla del West, Brünnhilde Götterdämmerung and Sieglinde Die Walküre for Opera North, Isolde Tristan und Isolde for Grange Park Opera, Gerhilde Die Walküre for the Royal Opera, London, Brünnhilde Siegfried for Den Nye Opera (conducted by Kent Nagano) and Oper Leipzig and Brünnhilde Die Walküre / Siegfried for the Paris Opera. In 2013, she appears as Brünnhilde Der Ring des Nibelungen in Seattle Opera’s three Bi-Centenary Cycles.

What the Press have said of her Wagner:
"The quality of singing is also high, with Richard Berkeley-Steele and Alwyn Mellor strongly cast as the lovers" - Barry Millington

Mellor's fleshy-toned Isolde sounding amazingly fresh as she soars through the climactic Liebestod - The Guardian
And of Alywyn Mellor?  What can one say : her vocal power, beauty and warmth have grown substantially. Her Isolde is not only a revelation due to her fine acting - which manages to make this the most human of Isoldes – but so to is her vocal performance. Rarely does one truly feel one is in the presence of an Isolde of exceptional beauty and quality but tonight was one of those nights. - The Wagnerian

"That was bloody marvellous - The Wagnerian's Partner

Mime – Colin Judson

As Mime

After completing vocal studies he established a successful relationship with Glyndebourne Festival Opera for whom he sang Coryphee Le Comte Ory and Gaston La Traviata, Andrew in Birtwistle’s The Last Supper (also Staatsoper Berlin, Queen Elizabeth Hall) and Remendado Carmen. Colin subsequently became a member of the Cologne Opera where roles included Hirt/Junge Seeman Tristan und Isolde, Monostatos Die Zauberflöte, Spoletta Tosca, GoroMadama Butterfly, PedrilloDie Entführung aus dem Serail and Truffaldino The Love for Three Oranges.
Colin has sung with ENO and at the Royal Opera as well as at the Teatro Real Madrid, the Opera National du Rhin (as Mime Das Rheingold), in Bordeaux and Toulouse. A series of short television operas featuring Colin in a variety of roles was broadcast last year on BBC TV.Future projects include Nick Fanciulla del West at the Edinburgh Festival, Truffaldino Love for Three Oranges in Limoges and Dr. Caius Falstaff in Nantes.

What the Press have said of his Wagner:
"... Colin Judson's Mime, absolutely top -world-class. He seemed to have taken 'Vater und Mutter zugleich' as his springboard, sporting two aprons, one masculine-blacksmith, the other feminine-housewife-he could swap gender at the drop of a semiquaver, really unsettling. This riveting, well-sung impersonation, half malevolent, half strangely sympathetic, forever teetering on the edge of madness, reminded you that Mime is one of Wagner's most dazzlingly brilliant creations..." Opera Magazine, June 09

Wotan – Phillip Joll

With Goodall As Wotan (Documentry:  Click plus to expand)

Phillip Joll was born in Wales and studied at the RNCM and the London National Opera Studio. He has sung at all the major houses in the UK and abroad at the New York Met, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Arizona, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Opera Bastille Paris, Bordeaux, Dresden, Stuttgart, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Karlsruhe, Dortmund, Brussels, Amsterdam, Reisopera Enschede, de Vlaamse Opera, Turin, Palermo, Bologna, Barcelona and in Korea and Bangkok. He has a large repertoire including Wotan/Wanderer, Amfortas, Kurwenal, title role Der Fliegende Holländer, Donner, Barak, Johanaan, Orest, title role Wozzeck in both Berg and Gurlitt’s version, Pizarro and Kaspar Der Freischütz. His Italian roles include Amonasro, Simon Boccanegra, Macbeth, Francesco I due Foscari, Falstaff, Anckarström, Rigoletto, Scarpia, Alfio Cavalleria Rusticana, Tonio I Pagliacci, Jack Rance La Fanciulla del West, Sharpless, Michele Il Tabarro in addition to BalstrodePeter Grimes, King Fisher A Midsummer Marriage, Nick Shadowthe Rake’s Progress, Creon Oedipus Rexand Thoas Iphigenie en Tauride. Future performances include Scarpia Tosca for Bangkok Opera, Priest Grigoris The Greek Passion for Teatro Massimo and a return to Welsh National Opera.

Alberich - Nicholas Folwell (Straight from Opera North's Rheingold!)

Nicholas Folwell has sung with all the major British opera companies. For ENO Blond Eckbert, Papageno, Tonio, Falke, Mutius,Timon of Athens, Sancho Don Quixote, Poacher/Forester, Major Mary Die Soldaten, Music Master Ariadne on Naxos, Bosun Billy Budd, Host Sir John in Love, Antonio Figaro, Commissar of Police Rosenkavalier. Other notable engagements Figaro, Leporello, Pizarro, Escamillo, Poacher, Klingsor, Alberich (WNO); Poacher, Antonio (ROH); Figaro, Alberich, Melitone Forza del destino, Bartolo Il barbiere di Siviglia, Mumlal The Two Widows (Scottish Opera); Pizarro, Figaro (GTO); Beckmesser, Leporello (Opera North); Alberich (Nantes); Figaro, Le chat/L’horloge L’Enfant et les sortilèges (Opera Zuid); Masetto (Tel Aviv); Marullo (Frankfurt); Koroviev in première of Der Meister und Margarita (Paris Opera); Don Inigo Gomez L’Heure espagnole; Pizarro (Holland Park); Forthcoming: Nachtigall (ROH), Alberich and the Forester Cunning Little Vixen (Nationale Reisopera), Alberich in Norway under Kent Nagano. Nicholas sang Alberich in Das Rheingold in 2007.

What the Press have said of his Wagner:

Nicholas Folwell’s brutish Alberich is magnificent – his curse the best bit of sustained Wagnerian fury I’ve heard in years.” Richard Morrison / The Times
“ …Of the uniformly strong cast Nicholas Folwell’s Alberich was horribly good.” Rian Evans / The Guardian * * * *

Fafner – Julian Close

Julian has appeared with ENO, Scottish Opera, WNO, Opera North, Mid-Wales Opera, Lyric Opera Dublin, Stanley Hall Opera, English Pocket Opera, Jubilee Opera, The Opera Project, and the Wexford, Buxton, Northampton, Longborough and Iford Festivals in roles including: Wotan, Fafner, Hunding, Hagen Der Ring des Nibelungen, Titurel Parsifal, Colonna Rienzi DosifeyKhovanschina, Vodnik Rusalka, Commendatore Don Giovanni, Grand Inquisitor Don Carlos, Pistol Falstaff, Sarastro and Sprecher Die Zauberflöte, Dr. Bartolo Le nozze di Figaro, Count Walter Luisa Miller, Nilakantha Lakme, Méphistophélès Faust, Zuniga Carmen, Mayor Jenufa, Collatinus The Rape of Lucretia, Timur Turandot, Colline La Bohème, Don Basilio Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Ferrando Il trovatore,Bonze Madama Butterfly, Luther and Crespel Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Sparafucile Rigoletto and RamfisAida. He has also performed concerts across the UK and in the US including LES NOCES with the Michael Clarke Dance Company at the Barbican, London and the Lincoln Center, New York. Later this year he will cover Fafner Siegfried for New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Julian has sung at Longborough on a number of occasions.

Erda – Evelyn Krahe
To Listen to her Erda click here

Evelyn Krahe studied singing with Diane Pilcher and took part in master classes with Brigitte Fassbaender and Claudia Eder.
Performances at Theater Bonn, Theater Bremen, Theater Detmold and Theater Brandenburg included Annina The Knight of the Rose, Hippolyta A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Karoline von Günderrode (Kleist) and Erda, Flosshilde Das Rheingold , and for WDR radio orchestra she sang the role of Melousine Operette Cloclo. Evelyn regularly performs as a concert singer.

She made her British debut 2007 at Longborough as Erda and FlosshildeDas Rheingold, returning in 2008 and in 2010 to sing Schwertleite Die Walküre. Since the 2008/2009 season, Evelyn has been a member of the Landestheater Detmold, where Wagners Ring is currently being performed. There she sings Flosshilde, Erda Das Rheingold, Grimgerde Die Walküre, ErdaSiegfried and 1. Norn, Waltraute and Flosshilde Götterdämmerung.
During the 2009/2010 season, Evelyn sang Filipjewna Eugene Onegin at the Staatstheater Braunschweig, and Grimgerde at the Deutsche Opera am Rhein, Düsseldorf.
What the Press have said of her Erda

Evelyn Krahe - an Erda with a magical straight-forward contralto, a voice crafted from only the finest! Opernnetz 
(...) passionately boasting with beautiful volume - Evelyn Krahe's Erda. Lippische Landeszeitung, 30.03.2009
(...) Evelyn Krahe exudes great augustness as the earth godess Erda, thanks to her darkly resplendent contralto. Westfälische Nachrichten, 01.04.2009

A beautiful, slim Erda, Evelyn Krahe faces her summoner full of dignity in an umber-coloured gown, giving voice to her weighty arguments with an appropriately sonorous contralto. Der Neue Merker Wien, March 2009
(...) Evelyn Krahe's Erda stands out with its metallic, slightly dark timbre. OMM (Online Musik Magazin)

Forced into daylight from out of the foot of the tree, practically from out of the roots themselves - one of the most poetical images of the evening - Evelyn Krahe let flow the balmy primordial words of the Wala. Finally we get to hear once again in this role an established contralto voice and not a mezzosoprano struggling with the lower notes. La Krahe is also blessed with a captivingly beautiful timbre. Der Opernfreund, April 2009

Evelyn Krahe is also to be mentioned as a truly profound Erda (...) Opernwelt, May 2009
Evelyn Krahe lent magic to her short scene as Erda with an exceptionally unusual volume and colour.Opernglas 5/2009
Forest Bird – Allison Bell

Tasmanian born Allison Bell studied Music and History at Sydney University. In Europe she received numerous awards including the La Scala Prize at the Viñas Competition in Barcelona.Roles include Folie Platée (Rameau), Aspasia Mitridate(Mozart), Königin der Nacht Die Zauberflöte (Mozart), Glauce Medea (Cherubini), Adele Die Fledermaus Olympia Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Allison created the role of Sierva Maria in Eötvös’ Love and Other Demons at Glyndebourne under Jurowski, repeating the role in Vilnius and Strasbourg. . With the LPO Allison was soloist for the UK premieres of Schnittke’s Three Madrigals, Three Scenes and Der Gelbe Klang and Pierrot Lunaire. Other recent performances include Carmina Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia and Le Feu, La Princesse and Le Rossignol in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges with the Bolshoi. Forthcoming performances include Berio’s Chamber Music London Sinfonietta, Grisey Quatre Chants pour Franchir le Seuil with the LPO,Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied in Berlin and Munich.

Anthony Negus  - Conductor

A Wagner enthusiast since his youth, Anthony worked for WNO with the legendary Sir Reginald Goodall, and has gained international authority as a conductor and coach of Wagner’s works.
Since his first Parsifal performances for WNO in 1983, he has conductedTristan, Rheingold, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung, Parsifal again (2003).

Together with director Alan Privett he built up the CBTO/Jonathan Dove Ring Cycle for LFO. He also performed this version in Pittsburgh with Opera Theatre Pittsburgh. For WNO, in addition to Wagner, he has conducted a wide range of operas, especially Mozart (all of his major operas and in particular The Magic Flute andFigaro), Beethoven Leonore, Richard Strauss Die Frau ohne Schatten, Elektra, Ariadne auf Naxos. Other 20th century operas include Janacek Katya Kabanova, Jenufa, Berg Wozzeck, Martinu The Greek Passion, James MacMillan The Sacrifice (now issued on Chandos CDs. Future plans include a performance of Die Meistersinger for Glyndebourne in 2011.

Alan Privett - Director

Alan Privett’s career reflects a wide and varied training in a number of different fields that have contributed to his work as a director. As Artistic Director of Longborough Festival Opera he has been responsible for the development of the Ring project.
Alan was born in Cheshire and read English at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He also studied at the Leicester School of Education and at the Architectural Association, and has an ARCM in vocal performance

As a director he has worked with a variety of companies in this country and abroad. Operas include Handel Rinaldo, Agrippina, Acis and Galatea, Partenope, Cavalli Erismena, BauldNell (Donmar Warehouse); Cosi fan tutte, Marriage of Figaro; Verdi Rigoletto; Dido and AeneasMidsummer Opera; Newson Mrs Fraser’s Frenzy (Canterbury, Cheltenham Festivals, Purcell Room);Madam Butterfly, Turandot, Verdi Aida, Macbeth, Traviata, L’Elisir d’Amore, Orpheus in the Underworld, Don Giovanni (Opera South East); The Ring, The Magic Flute, Cosi fan tutte, Tosca, Hansel and Gretel, Carmen (Longborough).

Kjell was born in Norway. He trained at Sir John Cass College, St. Martin’s School of Art (BA hons), London, Brighton Polytechnic and Statens Kunstakademi, Oslo. He is principally an artist, but his work for the stage includes designs for Nasjonaltheatret, Oslo and Longborough Festival Opera Das Rheingold and Die Walküre. As an artist he has exhibited in London, Hamburg, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen and Edinburgh. He has executed large-scale public commissions for the new University Library, Georg Sverdrups Hus, Oslo University: Royal Norwegian Embassy, London: Tafjord Kraft, Aalesund, Norway; Radiumhospitalet, Oslo; Nasco Headquarters, Edinburgyh. His work is in many public collections includign the British Museum, London; the National Museum for Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo; the Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo.


23, 25, 28, 30 July 2011