Wagner's Ring Cycle: 15 hours of epic opera

12 February 2017

BBC Arts and The Space present Richard Wagner’s monumental Ring cycle, in a radically stripped-back, critically acclaimed production by Opera North. Filmed during live performances in Leeds in 2016, this is total immersion in a unique, all-encompassing music drama. Audiences worldwide can watch the complete work below.

Part 1 - Das Rheingold

Set in a world populated by dwarfs and giants, gods and river-maidens, Das Rheingold establishes the cycle in thrilling fashion, beginning with music that evokes the very dawn of time.

The dwarf Alberich renounces love and steals the Rhinegold, a priceless treasure, from the river Rhine. He uses it to forge a magic ring which confers wealth and power on its owner, drawing the attention of Wotan, king of the gods.

In need of gold to pay for his new fortress, Valhalla, Wotan takes the ring from Alberich, setting in motion an epic conflict between love and power.

Cast:
Wotan - Michael Druiett
Loge - Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke
Alberich - Jo Pohlheim
Fricka - Yvonne Howard
Mime - Richard Roberts
Freia - Giselle Allen
Donner - Andrew Foster-Williams
Froh - Mark Le Brocq
Fasolt - James Creswell
Fafner - Mats Almgren
Erda - Claudia Huckle
Woglinde - Jeni Bern
Wellgunde - Madeleine Shaw
Flosshilde - Sarah Castle

Orchestra of Opera North
Conductor - Richard Farnes

Stage Director & Designer - Peter Mumford
Lighting & Projection Designer - Peter Mumford
Produced & Directed by Peter Mumford

Part 2 - Die Walküre

In Die Walküre, it is human emotion that takes centre stage, with musical highlights including Winterstürme and the Ride of the Valkyries.

Wotan, king of the gods, strives to undo the curse placed on the ring by the dwarf Alberich, by fathering a mortal hero to reclaim it.

But when his son Siegmund falls in love with his estranged twin sister, defying the laws of incest, Wotan sends his favourite daughter, the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, to ensure Siegmund’s death. Yet her defiance will mean that Wotan has to say a final goodbye to her too.

Cast:
Brünnhilde - Kelly Cae Hogan
Sieglinde - Lee Bisset
Siegmund - Michael Weinius
Wotan - Robert Hayward
Fricka - Susan Bickley
Hunding - James Creswell
Helmwige - Katherine Broderick
Ortlinde - Kate Valentine
Gerhilde - Giselle Allen
Siegrune - Sarah Castle
Rossweisse - Madeleine Shaw
Waltraute - Heather Shipp
Grimgerde - Fiona Kimm
Schwertleite - Claudia Huckle

Orchestra of Opera North
Conductor - Richard Farnes

Stage Director & Designer - Peter Mumford
Lighting & Projection Designer - Peter Mumford
Produced & Directed by Peter Mumford

Part 3 - Siegfried

Wagner’s unparalleled orchestral scene-painting reaches new heights as we meet the daring hero Siegfried, the grandson of Wotan, king of the gods.

Siegfried has been raised by the dwarf Mime in the forest, where he has never learned fear. When he learns of his parents’ deaths, he forges an unbreakable sword from the shards of the weapon that belonged to his father Siegmund, kills the dragon, Fafner, and claims the magic ring.

Fearless and free, Siegfried braves the fire surrounding the sleeping Brünnhilde, now a mortal woman, whom he innocently awakens, only to discover an all-consuming, passionate love.

Cast:
Siegfried - Lars Cleveman
Brünnhilde - Katherine Broderick
Mime - Richard Roberts
Wanderer - Béla Perencz
Alberich - Jo Pohlheim
Fafner - Mats Almgren
Woodbird - Jeni Bern
Erda - Claudia Huckle

Orchestra of Opera North
Conductor - Richard Farnes

Stage Director & Designer - Peter Mumford
Lighting & Projection Designer - Peter Mumford
Produced & Directed by Peter Mumford

Part 4 - Götterdämmerung

The musical and dramatic power of Götterdämmerung is awe-inspiring, as the epic cycle concludes with the end of the old world of the gods, and the dawn of a new era.

The hero Siegfried leaves Brünnhilde to journey down the Rhine, seeking new adventures. Arriving at the hall of the Gibichungs, Siegfried is tricked into Brünnhilde’s betrayal, and killed by Hagan, son of the dwarf Alberich, who is plotting to gain control of the ring.

But a devastated Brünnhilde finds a way to return the ring to the Rhine, and, finally, to redeem its curse.

Cast:
Brünnhilde - Kelly Cae Hogan
Siegfried - Mati Turi
Hagen - Mats Almgren
Gutrune - Giselle Allen
Gunther - Andrew Foster-Williams
Waltraute - Susan Bickley
Alberich - Jo Pohlheim
First Norn - Fiona Kimm
Second Norn - Heather Shipp
Third Norn - Lee Bisset
Woglinde - Jeni Bern
Wellgunde - Madeleine Shaw
Flosshilde - Sarah Castle

Chorus of Opera North
Orchestra of Opera North
Conductor - Richard Farnes

Stage Director & Designer - Peter Mumford
Lighting & Projection Designer - Peter Mumford
Produced & Directed by Peter Mumford

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