Lance Ryan (Siegfried); Catherine Foster (Brünnhilde); Wolfgang Koch (The Wanderer); Burkhard Ulrich (Mime); Martin Winkler (Alberich); Sorin Coliban (Fafner); Nadine Weissmann (Erda); Mirella Hagen (The Forest Bird)
The perfect blend of words, action, music and drama into a "total work of art" was the goal of Richard Wagner - and nothing less than a complete revolution in theater. Wagner's vision became reality against all odds at his own festival in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth in 1876. With heads of state and celebrities in attendance, the Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth continues to be Germany's top summertime social event. With the new staging of Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) in the Wagner 200th anniversary year, even more attention was focused on Bayreuth as audiences decended on the festival in late July to experience the "Ring" in the very theater that was built for the four-opera cycle.
In story and substance, the opera tetralogy is inexhaustible, dealing with nothing less than the origin and the fate of the world. In this, the story is both timeless and timely, with gods and nymphs, dragons, dwarfs, giants and human beings entrenched in a web of bribery, hate, jealousy, power, murder - and love. Add to that the most essential element - Wagner's rich musical tapestry - with its bombast and subtlety, stimulating the emotions and the intellect.
The complete "Ring" premiered at the first Bayreuth Festival, and each new production has attracted the world's attention. The 2013 rendition by stage director Frank Castorf and conductor Kyrill Petrenko generated considerable controversy, as have productions in the past - following Wagner's own exhortation to "create something new."