A New Production of Wagner's Götterdämmerung Opens at Met Opera 1/27
A new production of Götterdämmerung, the final opera in Wagner's cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, will open January 27 in a performance led by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi and directed by Robert Lepage. The central role of Brünnhilde will be sung by Deborah Voigt in her Met role debut. Jay Hunter Morris, who stepped into the title role of Wagner's Siegfried earlier this season to great acclaim, will again take the role of the doomed hero in this final installment of the Ring cycle. The company of Wagnerians also includes Wendy Bryn Harmer as Gutrune, Waltraud Meier as Waltraute, Hans-Peter König as Hagen, Eric Owens as Alberich, and Iain Paterson as Gunther; all but Paterson are making their house role debuts.
The February 11 matinee of Götterdämmerung will be transmitted live around the world as part of The Met: Live in HD series, which now reaches more than 1700 movie theaters in 54 countries.
Luisi will lead his first Met performances of Wagner's conclusion to the Ring tetralogy. Earlier this season, he led the new production premieres of Siegfried and Don Giovanni, and he will conduct the first complete cycles of Lepage's Ring staging beginning this April. His future Met engagements this season also include the new production premiere of Massenet's Manon and a revival of Verdi's La Traviata. Lepage's Ring production, which features a technologically advanced set that can assume many configurations and receive video projections to realize Wagner's stage directions, opened the Met's 2010-11 season with the premiere of Das Rheingold; the new productions of Die Walküre and Siegfried followed in April and October 2011.
Voigt, acclaimed for her Wagner performances at the Met, is singing her first Brünnhildes in this production of the Ring. Götterdämmerung will be the seventh Wagner opera in her Met repertory, which also includes Brünnhilde in Siegfried, both Brünnhilde and Sieglinde in Die Walküre, Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, Elsa in Lohengrin, Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, and Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer.
Earlier this season, Morris took over the starring role in the new production premiere of Siegfried with a week's notice, and had a major success in the demanding title role. Last season, he sang Siegfried in complete Ring cycles with the San Francisco Opera. Throughout his career, he has starred in numerous world premieres, including John Adams's Doctor Atomic, Howard Shore's The Fly, Elliott Goldenthal's Grendel, Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, and André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire.
Harmer, who sang Freia in the new production premiere of Das Rheingold, will make her Met role debut as the lovelorn Gibichung princess Gutrune. Meier will add the role of Waltraute, Brünnhilde's fatalistic sister, to her Met repertory, which also includes notable performances of Sieglinde, Isolde, Venus in Tannhäuser, and Kundry in Parsifal; last season at the Met, she sang her first performances of Marie in Wozzeck. Scottish bass-baritone Paterson made his Met debut as Gunther in the 2008-09 season. Owens was critically acclaimed for his role debut as Alberich in the production premieres of Lepage's Das Rheingold and Siegfried stagings. König has appeared in all three prior Lepage Ring production premieres, singing Fafner in Das Rheingold and Siegfried and Hunding in Die Walküre.
Katarina Dalayman, who sang the Götterdämmerung Brünnhilde during the Met's last complete Ring cycles in 2008-09, will take the role on February 3. Stephen Gould, last heard at the Met as Erik in Der Fliegende Holländer during the 2009-10 season, will sing Siegfried on January 31 and February 3.
The production team for Götterdämmerung is the same as in previous Lepage Ring productions: set designer Carl Fillion, costume designer François St-Aubin, and lighting designer Etienne Boucher. Video image artist Lionel Arnould makes his Met debut with Götterdämmerung.
Complete Ring Cycles
The Met will present three complete Ring cycles in spring 2012, the first complete performances of Lepage's production. The first cycle begins on April 7 and continues on April 13, 21, and 24. A second takes place April 26, 28, 30, and May 3, and a final cycle will play May 5, 7, 9, and 12.
Luisi will conduct all three cycles. The cast includes Voigt and Dalayman as Brünnhilde; Harmer as Freia and Gutrune; Eva-Maria Westbroek as Sieglinde; Patricia Bardon as Erda; Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill in her Met debut as Waltraute; Stephanie Blythe as Fricka; Jonas Kaufmann and Stuart Skelton as Siegmund; Morris and Gould as Siegfried; Stefan Margita as Loge; Gerhard Siegel and Robert Brubaker as Mime; König as Fafner, Hunding, and Hagen; Owens and Richard Paul Fink as Alberich; Paterson as Gunther; Franz-Josef Selig as Fasolt; and Bryn Terfel as Wotan.
Derrick Inouye will conduct the May 9 performance of Siegfried and John Keenan will conduct the May 12 Götterdämmerung.
Götterdämmerung Live in HD and on the Radio
The February 11 12 p.m. matinee of Götterdämmerung, hosted by Patricia Racette, will be transmitted live as part of The Met: Live in HD series, which is now seen in more than 1700 movie theaters in 54 countries around the world.
The January 27 opening performance will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 74, as will the performances on January 31, February 7, 11, and May 3. The January 27 performance will also be streamed live on the Met's Web site, www.metopera.org.
The February 11 12 p.m. matinee will be broadcast live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.