“I saw the world end…” Deep beneath the River Rhine lies a treasure that can rule – and break – the world. The price? That its bearer renounce love. From that single action – and a single note - Wagner’s colossal ‘Ring of the Nibelungs’ expands over four operas to weave a myth of love, power, destiny and redemption: a work of art so inspired, and so multi-layered, that even without words it stands as a masterpiece of unbreakable integrity and unparalleled imagination. Stripped of voices and scenery, in this hour-long “orchestral adventure” ‘The Ring’ emerges as one of the 19th century’s mightiest symphonies. Hearing is believing, especially in the hands of a conductor like Antony Hermus who has a deep kinship with Wagner’s vision. The uproarious suite from Ligeti’s surreal apocalyptic opera ‘Le Grand Macabre’ – part Wagner, part ‘Barbarella’ – makes for an inspired prelude, coupled here with an early Haydn symphony that uncovers a world of emotion without wasting a single note.
Prelude: 6.45pm in the Recital Room (free to ticket-holders, subject to seating availability): guest conductor Antony Hermus discusses Henk de Vlieger’s ‘The Ring: An Orchestral Adventure’.
The concert will be recorded, for broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in 'Radio 3 in Concert' on Tuesday, 3 December at 7.30pm – presented by Jamie MacDougall. After broadcast it will be available to stream or download for 30 days via 'BBC Sounds'.