Mastodon Seattle Opera To Release 2013 Ring Cycle On CD - The Wagnerian

Seattle Opera To Release 2013 Ring Cycle On CD

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 27 June 2014 | 1:38:00 am

A pity there is no DVD release, but at least it is something - and their first commercial recording release. Press release from Seattle Opera follows:

Wagner-lovers of the world, rejoice!

We’re giddy with excitement to announce Seattle Opera’s first-ever live audio recording: our fantastic Der Ring des Nibelungen from last summer.

Everyone seems to agree that our 2013 Ring was one for the history books.

General Director Speight Jenkins (who steps down this August after three decades at his post) felt the production was some of the company's best work. “By every measure: voices, orchestra, drama, audience excitement, I truly feel that the 2013 production was the bestRing I produced in my 31 years with the company," he said.

The press agreed.

Opera News said the 2013 production was “better than ever,” and according to Seattle Weekly it was “the company’s strongest performance yet of the epic." The Seattle Times wrote: “Powerful singing, compelling drama, and a surging, urgent orchestra lifted this Ringinto the realm of legend: This is a production people will be talking about for a long time to come.”

Speight is thrilled that the recording will, in a way, preserve this memorable show. He explained that the state-of-the-art technology used in recording the 2013 production does justice to what audiences heard in McCaw Hall.

“Traditional microphones can compress or distort the huge voices required in Wagner operas," he said. "We were blessed to use a remarkable, specially-calibrated custom microphone made available by Meyer Sound, one that captures dramatic voices as the theater audience hears them.”

The 14-CD box set of this live recording includes a 54-page booklet featuring full-color production photos, essays, and artist biographies, as well as four separate libretti of the four operas in the original German with Stewart Spencer’s English translation.

The entire package is available for pre-sale exclusively at starting June 25, and retails for $150.  The commercial release, including for iTunes, is set for September 9. The iTunes release will be mastered for iTunes and offered as an interactive LP with bonus visuals and content.

Conducted by the great Asher Fisch, the recording stars Greer Grimsley, Alwyn Mellor, Stefan Vinke, Stephanie Blythe, Stuart Skelton, Margaret Jane Wray, Richard Paul Fink, Daniel Sumegi,Andrea Silvestrelli, Dennis Petersen, and many others, and features the Seattle Symphony and the Seattle Opera Chorus.

Backstage at last summer's Ring: Rick Fisher, Asher Fisch, Speight Jenkins, Matthew Sutton, and Evans Mirageas
Alan Alabastro, photo

Evans Mirageas, Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera, produced the recording. Mirageas said that being asked to assist Speight Jenkins, the technical team, and all the artists associated with Seattle Opera in this project was a dream come true.

"From my fervid teenage Wagnerian obsessive days of listening to the (then still new) Solti Ring on London/Decca, I have loved this Mount Everest of opera," said Mirageas. "While I never met the legendary Decca producer John Culshaw whose masterwork was the Solti recording, I was his successor at Decca as the head of artists and repertoire but one. I inherited from his protégé Ray Minshull the small brass dragon that was Culshaw’s talisman throughout the Ring recording years. I kept it nearby in this past year or recording and post-production. It has been a privilege and a joy to be a happy Nibelung in this enterprise.”

Evans Mirageas and Fafnerino
Evans Mirageas, photo

This Ring recording was made possible with the cooperation of Seattle Opera’s collective bargaining unions: American Guild of Musical Artists AFL-CIO; IATSE Local 15, 488 and 887; and the Seattle Symphony and Opera Players’ Organization, a chapter of the International Guild of Symphony, Opera, and Ballet Musicians. Seattle Opera would like to thank executive producers David J. and Linda A. Cornfield for their belief in this project. Recorded live at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, August 2013, by Matthew Sutton & Rick Fisher; edited, mixed and mastered at RFI Mastering by Matthew Sutton and Rick Fisher.