Seattle Opera Celebrates Wagner Bicentennial in 2013 - Full Details

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 3 January 2013 | 6:06:00 pm

Seattle—Under General Director Speight Jenkins’ 30 years of leadership, Seattle Opera has become known as “America’s Bayreuth,” drawing worldwide audiences to its acclaimed productions of all of Richard Wagner’s major works, especially to the company’s signature work, Wagner’s ambitious four-opera cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen. To date, opera-goers from 22 countries and all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) have purchased tickets for Seattle Opera’s 2013 Ring.


Educational and community engagement programming honoring the composer’s bicentennial year begins well in advance of the Ring performances. The celebration kicks off on January 13, at a Seattle Youth Symphony Concert starring former Seattle Opera Young Artist Adina Aaron, who will sing the “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde as well as Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder. In February Sue Elliott, Seattle Opera’s Education Director, presents Inside the Ring at the Frye Art Museum, a series of fascinating three-hour seminars on each opera for those wanting to explore the Ring in depth. On May 22, Wagner’s 200th birthday, anyone and everyone—especially the shower-singers among us—are invited to sing along with Seattle Opera in the Armory at Seattle Center. The celebration includes a “Ho-jo-to-ho” competition, Ring costume contest, and cake! And on August 3, the day before Ring performances begin, a free, family-friendly open house at McCaw Hall, featuring performances of Seattle Opera’s newly-commissioned Our Earth opera trilogy, will encourage us all to “Make Some Noise.”

As performances of the Ring get underway on August 4, a wide variety of new and cherished education programs will enthrall and delight diehard Wagnerites and newcomers alike. Hosted in the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall, Seattle Opera’s three signature Symposia bring together artists, scholars, and authors to explore the complexities of Wagner and the Ring. Asher Fisch, Seattle Opera’s Principal Guest Conductor and conductor of the 2013 Ring, speaks at all three Symposia; other presenters include Lydia Goehr, Roger Parker, Kenneth Reinhard, Stephen Wadsworth, Michael Hackett, Mark Berry, François Rochaix, Pamela Rosenberg, Arthur Groos, and Peter Kazaras. Sue Elliott gives her Inside the Ring presentations the morning of each performance day. Immediately before each performance, patrons can attend the entertaining, hour-long Pre-Performance Talks given by Community Programs Manager Robert McClung. And all patrons are welcome to join the discussion at the free Q&A with Speight Jenkins after each performance of Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung. Following performances of Das Rheingold, Speight Jenkins will host Rheingold Revelry, an exclusive champagne reception and late supper open to all Ring full-cycle buyers. Other Ring-related opportunities include investigating technical solutions to the top 10 “problems” in producing any Ring cycle at the Tech Talks with Robert Schaub, the company’s Technical and Facilities Director; a night of new comedy, Wagner Sketches, at Seattle Repertory Theatre once each cycle; and a 2013 special: Speight’s Retrospective, a personal exploration of life with the Ring. And BRAVO! Club’s popular Laser Ring returns to the Pacific Science Center’s Laser Dome for one night only on August 11!

Seattle Opera’s 2013 Ring is conducted by Principal Guest Conductor Asher Fisch. The production features the Seattle Opera debuts of British soprano Alwyn Mellor as Brünnhilde and German tenor Stefan Vinke as Siegfried. Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley returns as Wotan, the role for which he won the Seattle Opera Artist of the Year Award in 2005. Also returning are baritone Richard Paul Fink as Alberich, soprano Margaret Jane Wray as Sieglinde and the Third Norn, tenor Stuart Skelton as Siegmund, and mezzo soprano Stephanie Blythe as Fricka, the Second Norn, and Waltraute (Götterdämmerung). Stephen Wadsworth returns to direct this beloved “Green” Ring production, with sets designed by Thomas Lynch, costumes by Martin Pakledinaz, and lighting by Peter Kaczorowski.


Seattle Opera’s Ring Cycle
All performances take place at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, Seattle, WA
Tickets: Cycle prices $300 to $1460 for all four operas
Seattle Opera Ticket Office: 206.389.7676, 800.426.1619, www.seattleopera.org

Performance Schedule

CYCLE I
CYCLE II
CYCLE III
Das Rheingold
Sunday, August 4
Monday, August 12
Tuesday, August 20
Die Walküre
Monday, August 5
Tuesday, August 13
Wednesday, August 21
Siegfried
Wednesday, August 7
Thursday, August 15
Friday, August 23
Götterdämmerung
Friday, August 9
Saturday, August 17
Sunday, August 25

Wagner Bicentennial Events Schedule

Seattle Youth Symphony Celebrates Wagner
January 13, 2013; 3 pm
Benaroya Hall, 3rd and Union in Seattle
Tickets: $15-$40, with student, senior, and group discounts also available
Seattle Opera Young Artist Alumna Adina Aaron joins the musicians of Seattle Youth Symphony for Wagner’s “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde and Wesendonck Lieder.  The program also includes Chabrier’s España and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

Inside the Ring with Sue Elliott – Pre-Festival Edition
February 2, 9, 16, and 23, 2013; 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Frye Art Museum AuditoriumAdmission: $100 for cycle
Seattle Opera Education Director Sue Elliott offers her insights into the themes, music, and historical context of all four operas in the Ring cycle.

Wagner’s Birthday Celebration
May 22, 2013; 7 pm
Seattle Center Armory
Admission: Free
Help Seattle Opera celebrate its favorite composer’s birthday at this lively party, complete with “Hojotoho” competition, prizes for the best Ring character costume, and sing-along.

“Make Some Noise!” Open HouseAugust 3, 2013; 10 am – 4 pm
McCaw Hall
Admission: Free + $5 for optional backstage tour
Bring the whole family for Ring kickoff fun, including hands-on activities exploring music-making and sound production, the incredible music, sculpture, and performances of Lelavision, the Seattle premiere of Seattle Opera’s final Our Earth opera, Every River Has Its People, with Seattle Youth Symphony, and more.

Inside the Ring with Sue Elliott 10 am – 1 pm each performance day
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall, McCaw Hall
Admission: $100 for each cycle; $30 for individual talks
Seattle Opera Education Director Sue Elliott offers her insights into the themes, music, and historical context of all four operas in the Ring cycle.

Pre-Performance Talks with Rob McClung* 5:30 – 6:30 pm before Das Rheingold performances; 4:30 – 5:30 pm before performances of Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall, McCaw Hall
Admission: $35 for each cycle
Community Programs Manager Rob McClung sets the stage with an informative and entertaining multimedia introduction before each performance.

Rheingold Revelry Opening Night Celebration* McCaw Hall
Admission:
$325—Champagne reception and late supper with a Ring artist at your table.
            $225—Champagne reception and late supper.
Special post-performance celebration marking the opening of each Ring cycle.  Champagne reception followed by a late supper hosted by General Director Speight Jenkins and attended by Ring artists.

Q&A with Speight Jenkins*
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall, McCaw Hall
Admission: free for ticketholders.
Join General Director Speight Jenkins for a post-performance discussion immediately following the conclusion of Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung.

August 2013 Ring Symposia Nesholm Family Lecture Hall, McCaw Hall
Admission: $70 per symposium, lunch available for additional fee
Cycle I Symposium: Tuesday, August 6; 10 am – 3 pmTheme: “Why and how does Wagner’s Ring evoke extreme devotion and aversion?”
Participants: Lydia Goehr, Roger Parker, Kenneth Rheinhard, Stephen Wadsworth, and Asher Fisch
Cycle II Symposium: Wednesday, August 14; 10 am – 3 pm
Theme: “What aspects of Wagner’s alchemy contribute to the Ring’s infinite breadth and depth?”
Participants: Michael Hackett, Mark Berry, François Rochaix, Asher Fisch
Cycle III Symposium: Thursday, August 22; 10 am – 3 pm
Theme: “How do the spatial and temporal dimensions of Wagner’s Ring influence its performance, its legacy, and the audience’s experience?”
Participants: Pamela Rosenberg, Arthur Groos, Peter Kazaras, Asher Fisch

Speight’s Retrospective
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall, McCaw Hall
Admission: $50
Join Speight Jenkins for an enthralling exploration of his life and the Ring, from his youthful discovery of Wagner’s epic music drama to reflections on being at the helm of Seattle Opera’s productions of the Wagner operas.
Cycle I Tuesday, August 6; 6 – 7:30 pm
Cycle II Wednesday, August 14; 6 – 7:30 pm
Cycle III Thursday, August 22; 6 – 7:30 pm

Tech Talks with Robert Schaub Nesholm Family Lecture Hall, McCaw Hall
Admission: $15
Technical Director Robert Schaub discusses the “Top 10” technical challenges in bringing Wagner’s story to life.
Cycle I Thursday, August 8; 10 – 11:30 am
Cycle II Friday, August 16; 10 – 11:30 am
Cycle III Saturday, August 24; 10 – 11:30 am

Wagner Sketches
Leo K. Theatre at Seattle Rep
Admission: $30
Prepare for the End of the World with some Serious Fun! Seattle Repertory Theatre and Seattle Opera present an evening showcasing the best-of-the-best comedic shorts: think Second City meets Bayreuth.
Cycle I Thursday, August 8; 7:30 pm
Cycle II Friday, August 16; 7:30 pm
Cycle III Saturday, August 24; 7:30 pm

KING FM Ring Broadcasts
August 10, 17, 24, and 31. Speight Jenkins’ preview begins at 6 pm, with the opera beginning at 7 pm each night on Classic KING FM, 98.1 and www.king.org.

BRAVO! Club’s Laser Ring
Pacific Science Center’s Laser Dome (200 2nd Ave N)
August 11, 2013, 6:30 & 8:30 pm (2 showings)
Admission: $10
Back by popular demand! Join Seattle Opera’s BRAVO! Club, the nation’s largest organization for opera-goers in their 20s and 30s, for a night of Ring music set to lasers, à la Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. Casual attire is encouraged, as are pillows and blankets if you want to get even cozier inside the Laser Dome. Movie theater-style snacks, beer, and wine available for purchase.

* Denotes events for performance ticket holders only