Washington National Opera Announces Complete Casting for 2016's Ring

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 | 11:12:00 pm

Washington National Opera (WNO) today announced complete casting for its first full presentation of Richard Wagner's four-part Ring cycle. Three cycles will be presented from April 30 to May 22, 2016 and will be directed by Artistic Director Francesca Zambello and conducted by WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin. Contribution packages with priority seating for The Ring are on sale now. For more information, go to WNO's Ring website.

The complete casting announcement follows the principal casting announcement this spring. WNO's Ring cycles feature two Brunnhildes. Acclaimed British soprano Catherine Foster, who will make her U.S. debut in Cycles I and II. Internationally renowned Swedish soprano Nina Stemme  makes her WNO debut in Cycle III. American heldentenor Daniel Brenna,  takes on the role in the United States for the first time. American bass-baritone Alan Held, an experienced Wagnerian who has appeared in more than 20 WNO productions, returns to his celebrated portrayal of Wotan.

Newly announced casting highlights include the return of American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop as Fricka and American baritone Gordon Hawkins as Alberich; the WNO debut of American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World winner, as Second Norn and Waltraute; veteran Wagnerians such as American bass Eric Halfvarson as Hagen and Christopher Ventris as Siegmund; rising American stars such as soprano Meagan Miller as Sieglinde, soprano Melody Moore as Freia and Ortlinde, bass-baritone Ryan McKinny as Donner and Gunther, and contralto Lindsay Ammann as Erda, Schwertleite, and First Norn; and the Wagnerian debuts of two Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists, American soprano Jacqueline Echols as Woglinde and the Forest Bird and American bass Soloman Howard as Fafner.

Contribution packages for The Ring, which include priority seating for performances and access to dress rehearsals, cast parties, and other special events, are on sale now. Regular subscription packages will go on sale in March 2015.

The Ring is an epic four-part story that follows the struggles of gods, heroes, and several mythical creatures for possession of a magical ring. From a grand castle in the sky to a dark underground city, from the banks of the Rhine to a mountaintop ringed by magic fire, three generations fight for domination over the entire world.

The previously announced creative team includes direction by WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello, set design by Michael Yeargan, costume design by Catherine Zuber, lighting design by Mark McCullough, and projection design by Jan Hartley and S. Katy Tucker. The WNO Orchestra will be conducted by noted Wagnerian and WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin. Each opera will be performed in German with projected English titles.

The company is planning a wide range of events during the spring of 2016 to engage Wagner aficionados, patrons new to Wagner's Ring, college students, children, and the city at large in Wagner's groundbreaking music and in the American historical themes that are the foundation of Francesca Zambello's striking production. Events will include lectures and symposia in music, literature, the visual arts, and more; additional information will be announced in the coming months.