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A New American Ring Begins

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 2 June 2014 | 8:22:00 pm

A bold new project is about to start in Hartford, CT this summer as Hartford Wagner Festival launches the first part of what it says will eventually be  annual Ring cycles. Beginning, logically enough, with Rheingold. While  fully staged the production will attempt to reduce the usual high costs involved in producing a Ring cycle with the use of a "digital orchestra" In order to understand what this means  we spoke to the festival's President/Artistic Director Charles M. Goldstein today to explain:

"I have been developing the Digital Orchestra now for about 15 years and it is now “ready for prime time” as they say.  My digital instruments come from the Vienna Symphonic Library and are basically from the players of the Vienna Philharmonic and other Viennese orchestras.  The project begins with Sibelius Notation program in which I entered, by hand, all 137,000 measures of “Das Rheingold” note by note.  Then the program was sent to Apple’s Logic Studio where the instruments are applied and editing begins for dynamics and tempos.  The output of the program is fed to 22 Sound Point Source speakers with subwoofers which are placed in the same positions as the instruments in the Met Opera’s pit.  Each speaker is aligned to produce its sound in the same direction as the sound would eminate from the instrument it represents. For instance, violins upward, French horns backward, tuba upward, double basses and cellos forward etc.  The result uses the reverberation of the theater just like a regular orchestra.  The conductor is still in his/her regular spot and has a video monitor showing the score moving and cues the singers as usual and holds the production together.

The resulting sound is amazing and the singers had no trouble at all following the stick (during test rehearsals) The result is the ability to produce a “Ring” cycle at a fraction of the cost with a full live orchestra."

To provide an example of what you might expect, the company kindly provided a video clip of early rehearsals. Although this does not feature all of the now announced cast. This can be found below. 

Press release and details below.

Hartford Wagner Festival, Inc.- Newest Opera Company to Present Wagner’s Ring Cycle

The Hartford Wagner Festival, Inc. is pleased to announce its inaugural season of presenting Richard Wagner’s monumental “Der Ring des Nibelungen” with their new production of “Das Rheingold” on August 8, 9 & 10, 2014 at the Roberts Theater of the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Utilizing a state-of-the-art Digital Orchestra, “Das Rheingold” will be the first production of the “Ring” of the new opera company. Following each year, the Hartford Wagner Festival will add the next installment of the “Ring” cycle until in 2017 they will begin presenting two complete “Ring” cycles each year.

Employing the talents of the Digital Orchestra’s creator, Charles M. Goldstein, the Hartford Wagner Festival has hired Jonathon Field, Head of the Opera Department at Oberlin College and a noted “Ring” Stage Director, to produce an entirely new multi-media production of the “Ring” for HWF. Eight artists from the Metropolitan Opera have been engaged to sing as well as giving young artists the opportunity to perform in some of the smaller roles.

Michael Chioldi, noted Metropolitan Opera Baritone, will make his first foray into Wagner as Wotan in “Das Rheingold.” Robert Brubaker will sing the role of Mime which he has sung for the Met. Sondra Kelly, also a Met alumnus, sings the role of Fricka and Adam Herskowitz (another Met artist) will sing Froh. Alberich will be sung by Met artist Philip Cokorinos and Cindy Sadler will perform as Erda. Joel Sorenson reprises his Met role of Loge. Newcomers Jeremy Milner (also a Met Artist) and Matthew Anchel sing Fasolt and Fafner with Met artist Ross Crolius as the second cast Fafner. Resident Artist’s Sydney Anderson, Caitlin Mathes and Ema Mitrovic’ will be the Rhinemaidens. Conducting will be Charles M. Goldstein.

Full Cast details can be found here

More information Here

Dates: August 8, 9 & 10, 2014