Stephanie Blythe Joins Tanglewood's DAS RHEINGOLD

Stephanie Blythe Joins Tanglewood's DAS RHEINGOLD

On Saturday, July 15, at 8 p.m., BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in one of the great highlights of the 2017 Tanglewood season: the orchestra's first-ever complete concert performance of Wagner's epic Das Rheingold, the first of the four dramas from Wagner's masterpiece Der Ring des Nibelungen, and a tour de force milestone for the festival. The performance features a cast of all-star vocal soloists among the most respected for these roles, including bass-baritone Thomas J. Mayer as Wotan (in his BSO and Tanglewood debuts); mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as Fricka; tenor Kim Begley as Loge (BSO and Tanglewood debuts); and baritone Jochen Schmeckenbecher (BSO and Tanglewood debuts) as Alberich, along with other prestigious singers known for their expertise performing Wagner's music. The performance of Das Rheingold-sung in German with English subtitles-will run without an intermission.

Due to ill health and on the advice of her doctor, Dame Sarah Connolly, who was previously scheduled to sing the role of Fricka, has been forced to withdraw from the performance.

Set in mythical times, Das Rheingold, the first installment of Wagner's epic Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle, sets in motion a series of events that will lead, windingly but inexorably, to the downfall and destruction of the gods. In broad strokes, the opera tells the story of dwarf Alberich (the Nibelung of the cycle's title), who steals from the depths of the Rhine a golden treasure that grants him unlimited power, but for which he must sacrifice love. Meanwhile, Wotan, the lord of the gods, has promised his daughter, Freia, to two giants, Fasolt and Fafner, in return for their work building Valhalla, a magnificent new home for the gods. When they finish their work and demand their payment, however, Wotan refuses to hand over his daughter. Instead, he gives the giants treasure, including the all-powerful ring Alberich has made from the Rhine's gold. After having stolen the ring from Alberich, Wotan is overcome with lust for its power and tries to keep it for his own. But after Erda, goddess of the earth, prophesies that Wotan's possession of the ring would lead to the end of the gods, he gives it over to the giants. The curse of the ring becomes immediately clear when the giants come to blows and Fafner kills Fasolt. The debt to the giants being paid, the storm-god Donner conjures a magnificent rainbow bridge to Valhalla, and the gods cross to their magnificent new castle.

Perhaps because of its relatively brief duration ("just" two-and-a-half hours) and Wagner's labeling it a "prelude" to the remainder of his Ring epic-Das Rheingold has never received the same level of devotion and respect as an individual work as have the three massive subsequent installments of the cycle. Qualitatively, this lack of equal consideration is unfortunate and undeserved. Though Wagner wrote the music for the Ring in the order that the cycle proceeds, he wrote the libretti in reverse order. Since his musical thinking was rapidly evolving over the approximately four years he spent writing the libretti, and since he wrote his texts according to the style and form of the music he intended to write for it, Wagner in many ways wrote the Ring's most innovative text most innovative music, for Rheingold. It lacks the soaring love duets, excerptable ensemble numbers, and self-contained orchestral showpieces that crop up in the other three operas, proceeding instead in an unbroken flow of breathtaking music-from the remarkable primordial rumblings with which it begins to the shimmering depiction of the rainbow bridge that carries the gods into Valhalla at its conclusion-and introducing along the way many of the musical ideas and themes that will serve as the foundation for the entire cycle.

Tickets for the 2017 Tanglewood, season, $12-$124, are available through Tanglewood's website,, through SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200, and at the Symphony Hall Box Office at 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston MA. Tickets will also be available for purchase in person at the Tanglewood Box Office at Tanglewood's Main Gate on West Street in Lenox, MA, in June 2017. American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Discover, and cash are all accepted. For further information and box office hours, please call the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 617-266-1492 or visit $20 tickets for attendees under 40, one of the BSO's most popular discount ticket offers, will be available for select BSO and Boston Pops performances in the Shed. In addition, Tanglewood continues to offer free lawn tickets to young people age 17 and under, as well as a variety of special programs for children, including Kids' Corner, Watch and Play, and the annual Family Concert, this year to take place July 22.Additional ticket information appears near the end of this press release.

The 2017 Tanglewood season, June 16-Labor Day Weekend, offers visitors an exceptional lineup of performances and musical activities for music lovers of every age, highlighted by 10 programs led by Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Andris Nelsons and major new initiatives, including Summer Sundays designed to give patrons a wide spectrum of musical, entertainment, and educational activities to enjoy before and after Sunday-afternoon BSO concerts (2:30 p.m.), starting when the gates open at noon. In his most significant commitment yet to Tanglewood, Mr. Nelsons will lead both the opening and closing BSO concerts, Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9; an opera gala with Kristine Opolais and another vocal soloist performing an evening of opera and song, and the first-ever BSO and festival concert performance of Wagner's complete Das Rheingold, a tour de force milestone in the history of Tanglewood. Mr. Nelsons will also conduct the Boston Pops Orchestra for the first time, sharing the podium for Film Night with John Williams. In addition to Tanglewood's classical music offerings, the 2017 Tanglewood season also includes performances by "Four Voices"-featuring Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls (6/17); jazz piano prodigy Joey Alexander (6/23);Chris Botti with the Boston Pops and conductor Lawrence Loh (6/24); Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald (6/30); John Mellencamp with Emmylou Harris and Carlene Carter (7/1); singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant (7/2); James Taylor and his All-Star Band (7/3 & 4); David Sedaris (8/20); Sting (8/29); iconic singer Diana Ross (8/30); American folk-rock band The Avett Brothers (9/1); Classic Quadrophenia with Pete Townshend, Billy Idol, and Alfie Boe (9/2); and Melissa Etheridge, who joins Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops to close out the 2017 Tanglewood season (9/3).


One of the most popular and acclaimed music festivals in the world, Tanglewood-the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home since 1937-is located between Lenox and Stockbridge, MA. With an average annual attendance of more than 300,000 visitors, Tanglewood has a $103 million impact on the Berkshire economy each summer. Tanglewood presents orchestra concerts by the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, and visiting ensembles, featuring many of the greatest classical musicians of our time; recital and chamber music concerts in the intimate setting of Ozawa Hall; programs highlighting the young musicians of the Tanglewood Music Center; and performances by some of today's leading popular artists. Introduced in 2013, $20 tickets for attendees under 40 will be available for select BSO and Boston Pops performances in the Shed. Tanglewood is family-friendly, with free lawn tickets available for children and young people age 17 and under, and a variety of special programs for children, including Kids' Corner, Watch and Play, and the annual Family Concert, this year to take place on Saturday, July 22. Tanglewood is also the home of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO's preeminent summer music academy for the advanced training of young professional musicians, and Days in the Arts, a multi-cultural arts-immersion program that gives 400 fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-graders from communities across Massachusetts the opportunity to explore the arts in week-long sessions throughout the summer. These are just two of the BSO's many educational and outreach activities, for which more information is available online at the Boston Symphony Orchestra's website, approximately 17 million visitors annually and generating over $118 million in revenue since its launch in 1996. Music lovers can follow Tanglewood via its new social media accounts on Facebook at, on Twitter @TanglewoodMA, and on Instagram @TanglewoodMusicFestival. The Boston Symphony is on Facebook at, on Twitter @bostonsymphony, and on Instagram @bostonsymphony. The Boston Pops is on Facebook at, on Twitter @thebostonpops, and on Instagram @thebostonpops.

In addition to summertime concerts at Tanglewood and its many other world-class cultural and entertainment offerings, the Berkshire region is also well known for its all-season outdoor activities, a bountiful food culture boasting both four-star restaurants and family eateries, and a wide array of lodging to accommodate all tastes and budgets. Amidst a backdrop of picturesque towns and villages, surrounded by the beautiful Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, these many and varied activities play a significant role in setting the region apart and making it a singular destination in the summer and throughout the year. For more information visit

Concerts from the Shed are broadcast across New England throughout the Tanglewood season in Boston on WCRB 99.5FM, a service of WGBH, and WJMF 88.7FM in Providence; in Albany on WAMC 90.3FM and its network of translators; and in Connecticut on WMNR 88.1FM. In addition, Sunday afternoon concerts are broadcast on WFCR 88.5FM in Amherst; in New Hampshire on WCNH 91.5FM and WEVO 89.1-HD2; and on a delayed basis on the classical music stations of Vermont Public Radio and of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. Live streaming of these broadcasts and schedule details are available at ;;;;; and On-demand audio of concerts is available at and

Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation is proud to be celebrating its fourteenth year as the Official Chauffeured Transportation Provider of the BSO. The Sunday, August 6 afternoon Shed concert is sponsored by Dell EMC.

For further information, call the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 617-266-1492. The Boston Symphony Orchestra is online at All programs and artists are subject to change.

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