Eric Owens, Christine Goerke to Star in Lyric Opera of Chicago's RING Cycle in 2016-17 Season

Anthony Freud, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, announced today that the company will present a new production of Richard Wagner's monumental four-opera masterpiece, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) starting in 2016-17.

Freud was joined for the announcement by American soprano Christine Goerke, a major international artist who will portray the leading role of Brünnhilde.

Freud presented the formidable creative team: the company's music director, Sir Andrew Davis, who will conduct; director David Pountney; and designers Johan Engels (sets), Marie-Jeanne lecca (costumes), and Fabrice Kebour (lighting). All were present for today's announcement at the Civic Opera House, home to Lyric Opera of Chicago, as was chorus master Michael Black, who will prepare the Lyric Opera Chorus for Götterdämmerung. The press conference was also live-streamed.

As in its two previous presentations at Lyric, the Ring will be staged as follows: Das Rheingold (2016-17 season), Die Walküre (2017-18), and Siegfried (2018-19). The company will conclude its 2019-20 season with individual performances of Götterdämmerung, prior to presenting three complete Ring cycles in April 2020.

Pountney, Engels, Lecca, and Kebour - the latter two in company debuts - will be at Lyric during 2014-15 to remount their much-praised production of Mieczys?aw Weinberg's The Passenger in that work's Midwestern premiere.

"Wagner's Ring is unquestionably one of the most iconic and fascinating stage works ever created," declared Freud. "It represents the high-water mark of our art form - unique in its scale, complexity, fascination, and indeed, in its ability to 'hook' an audience. Experiencing a Ring cycle is one of the most life-transforming artistic experiences the world has to offer. I am thrilled by the team we have assembled to create that experience at Lyric.

"For any company with the resources to present it, the Ring offers arguably the most formidable challenge in the entire repertoire," Freud added. "The four operas demand from performers and production team alike profound interpretive intelligence and extraordinary technical prowess."

Returning to the complete Ring for the first time since his success at Lyric with the work nearly a decade ago is Sir Andrew Davis, the company's internationally renowned music director. "Sir Andrew is known worldwide for his virtuosity in a wide range of repertoire," noted Freud. "Wagner is one of his great passions. His commitment to Wagner's music, and his extraordinary ability to convey its architecture, emotion, and luminosity, are evident from his performances of the major Wagner operas at Lyric - most recently Meistersinger and Parsifal - which we have been proud to present. From the first conversation I had with Andrew upon my appointment as general director, it was clear that one of his greatest artistic priorities over the next ten years was to revisit the Ring."

Sir Andrew Davis has scored some of his greatest successes at Lyric in Wagner's operas. Since the 2000-01 season, when he debuted in Wagner at Lyric with The Flying Dutchman, he has led the company's productions of Parsifal (2001-02), Die Walküre (2002-03), Siegfried (2002-04), Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung (2004-05), Tristan und Isolde (2008-09), Lohengrin (2010-11), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (2012-13), and this season's Parsifal. He led his first complete Ring cycles during the company's 50th-anniversary season (2004-05). His achievements in Wagner also include a new production of Lohengrin that marked his Bayreuth Festival debut. Sir Andrew returns to the Lyric podium later this season for the company premiere of Dvo?ák's Rusalka and the first Lyric performances in 24 years of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito. Immediately prior to beginning rehearsals for Rusalka, he led concerts at the Toronto Symphony Opera and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, as well as Massenet's Cendrillon at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu. Sir Andrew returns to the BBC Symphony Orchestra in April for The Dream of Gerontius and The Apostles, major works by Sir Edward Elgar, a composer with whose music Sir Andrew is closely associated.

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