Longborough Festival Opera will continue its Ring cycle this June, with a performance of Die Walküre in the beloved Longborough theatre [pictured]. The festival will then stage Siegfried (2022) Götterdämmerung (2023) building to the full cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen in 2024.
About the new Ring cycle
Longborough’s ambitious new Ring cycle began in June 2019, with a critically acclaimed production of Das Rheingold: “Both epic and intimate, a fantastic journey that felt enthrallingly natural” (Opera Magazine); “a new Ring with assurance and clarity” – The Guardian; “a Ring to travel miles to hear” (Opera Now); “Wagnerian excellence” (The Arts Desk).
All productions in the new Ring cycle are created especially for Longborough. Amy Lane, Artistic Director of Copenhagen Opera Festival and previous Head Staff Director at The Royal Opera Covent Garden, will direct the entire cycle. Longborough Music Director and eminent Wagnerian Anthony Negus will conduct.
“The Ring cycle is the most epic of tales with a score that is searing, desperate, sublime and so perfectly unfathomable. What an honour it is to set foot upon this glorious pathway and to commence this journey with Longborough” – Amy Lane, Director
The 2021 concert production of Die Walküre
Although Longborough has introduced a new venue for 2021 (The Big Top) performances of Die Walküre will take place in the beloved Longborough Theatre. In an era of social distancing, this means expanding beyond the orchestra pit. Die Walküre will therefore be presented in a new concert production, allowing for additional musicians on stage alongside the cast.
In the Ring year, 2024, Longborough will present a hitherto unseen fully staged performance of Die Walküre.
A destination for Wagnerians
Wagner is the lifeblood of Longborough founders Martin and Lizzie Graham. In 1996 they began building the Longborough theatre in the image of Wagner’s Bayreuth festival theatre. The first opera in the completed theatre was a performance of Das Rheingold (1998) from a reduced version of the Ring cycle which was adapted for the City of Birmingham Touring Opera by Graham Vick and Jonathan Dove. The festival has since been celebrated for its performances of Wagner’s work.
Longborough’s first full-scale performance of Das Rheingold took place in 2007, and the Grahams commissioned Jim Keeling to create a statue of the great composer to mark the occasion. The statue was displayed outside the theatre until Wagner’s birthday, 22nd May, when it was placed proudly atop the theatre roof, where it remains to this day.
In Wagner’s bicentenary year (2013) Longborough was the only UK company to host a fully-staged Ring cycle, described by The Times as “one of the summer’s most remarkable cultural achievements”. The success of the Ring cycle was a landmark for Longborough: it firmly established the festival as an annual destination for Wagnerians around the world.
Longborough is proud to have been a springboard for many Wagnerian singers, such as Alwyn Mellor, Rachel Nicholls, and Daniel Brenna. This new cycle features many more singers making role debuts, including Lee Bisset (Brünnhilde), Madeleine Shaw (Fricka), Freddie Tong (Hunding), Darren Jeffery (Wotan in 2019), Paul Carey Jones (Wotan), Pauls Putnins (Fasolt), Adrian Dwyer (Mime), Catherine Carby (Waltraute), Wyn Pencarreg (Donner), Mark Stone (Alberich), Mark Le Brocq (Loge) and Marie Arnet (Freia). Acclaimed Wagnerian Brindley Sherratt also joins the company for the first time, singing the role of Hunding in June 2021.
Explore Wagner on The Longborough Podcast
The Longborough Podcast offers a treasure trove of fascinating discussions between artists, journalists and leading industry figures. Recent highlights include:
– Music journalist Richard Bratby speaks with Longborough Music Director Anthony Negus and bass-baritone Paul Carey Jones about Wotan’s journey through the Ring cycle.
– Writer and librettist Sophie Rashbrook, historian Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough and soprano Lee Bisset explore the roles and mythical origins of Wagner’s women.
– Longborough’s Artistic Director Polly Graham joins the acclaimed librettist and opera director Sir David Pountney, who was in the midst of staging his own Ring cycle in Chicago when the pandemic first struck. They explore where and how we can find comedy and humour in Wagner’s Ring cycle, and how it deepens our understanding of the story.
– Upcoming episodes include Professor Kenneth Hamilton and Anthony Negus on the relationship between Wagner and Liszt; and Alex Ross and Simon Callow in conversation about their respective books on Wagner: Wagnerism & Being Wagner: The Triumph of the Will.
Wagner in Schools
Longborough delivers an ambitious education programme that introduces Wagner and other composers to local schools across the region where access to the arts is often limited. In workshops taking place across Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands, students from ages 3 to 18 can get hands-on with the plots, motifs and characters of the operas within the Longborough season.
Find out more: https://lfo.org.uk/participate/our-work-with-schools