Photo: Greer Grimsley (Wotan) and Stephanie Blythe (Fricka). © Rozarii Lynch photo
Seattle Opera officially announces its summer 2013 production of Wagner’s four-opera epic, Der Ring des Nibelungen, as well as the composer’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, which will open the 2014/15 season the following summer. Seattle Opera’s beloved “Green” production of the Ring, first seen in 2001, returns in August 2013. In August 2014, the company presents Meistersinger for the first time in more than 20 years. These back-to-back Wagner summers celebrate several important milestones: the 2013 bicentenary of Wagner’s birth, the 50th Anniversary of Seattle Opera, and the conclusion of Speight Jenkins’ 30 years as general director of Seattle Opera. “It was a great day for Seattle when Speight Jenkins came here to lead the opera company in 1983,” says William Weyerhaeuser, President of the Seattle Opera Board of Trustees. “Speight’s ear for the world’s best voices, his instinct for what makes exciting theater, integrity, diplomacy, his broad base of knowledge, and his tireless, contagious passion for the art form have made Seattle Opera one of the great opera companies and given this city and its visitors decades of compelling opera. Seattle Opera is proud to honor Speight, and mark the company’s 50th Anniversary, with two signature productions—the Ring Cycle, the work that’s the heart of the company, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Wagner’s optimistic hymn in praise of art and the cultural tradition.” Seattle Opera’s critically acclaimed production of the Ring, directed by Stephen Wadsworth and featuring sets by Thomas Lynch, costumes by Martin Pakledinaz, and lighting by Peter Kaczorowski, returns for its fourth incarnation, this time under the baton of Asher Fisch, Principal Guest Conductor of Seattle Opera. Fisch, who has conducted Parsifal, Lohengrin, Der Rosenkavalier, Der Fliegende Holländer, and Tristan und Isolde for Seattle Opera, “ranks among the finest Ring conductors of our time,” according to Opus Magazine. Making their Seattle Opera debuts in this production are Alwyn Mellor as Brünnhilde and Stefan Vinke as Siegfried. Mellor is a Brünnhilde of choice for Den Nye Opera, Oper Leipzig, Longborough Festival Opera, Paris Opera, and Opera North; Vinke has sung Siegfried in Cologne, Leipzig, Berlin, Salzburg, Venice, and Lisbon. Greer Grimsley returns to Seattle Opera for the third time as Wotan, a role for which he won Seattle Opera’s 2005 Artist of the Year award. Other returning artists include Stephanie Blythe as Fricka, Margaret Jane Wray as Sieglinde, Stuart Skelton as Siegmund, Dennis Petersen as Mime, and Richard Paul Fink as Alberich. Seattle Opera has only produced Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg once before, in the summer of 1989. Wagner’s magnificent comedy, which celebrates community, artistic leadership, and a balance of tradition and innovation in the arts, is the perfect way to honor the life-work of Speight Jenkins, who will be stepping down from his position on September 1, 2014. Asher Fisch will conduct. Performances of the Ring are scheduled as follows: Cycle #1, August 4, 5, 7, & 9; Cycle #2, August 12, 13, 15, & 17; and Cycle #3, August 20, 21, 23, and 25, 2013. Subscription performances of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg are scheduled for August 2, 7, 10, 13, 17, 20, and 23, 2014.