“Wagner’s Ring Cycle is at the pinnacle of our art form. Bringing it for the first time to the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and working together with the orchestra on this great music, will be a central pillar of my tenure as Music Director. I am thrilled that this first instalment, Das Rheingold, has been so faithfully and beautifully captured by the recording team. This release will serve as a document of a cast which would be the envy of any stage in the world, and of a great orchestra, making thrilling music together.”
First performed as a cycle of four operas in 1876, Wagner’s visionary Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) is one of the greatest works of art. Centred around a ring which offers its bearer ultimate power and the attempts of various people to acquire it, the Ring cycle explores the relationship between love and earthly power and the themes of yearning and loss, all within a setting of medieval legend. The Prologue Das Rheingold depicts the theft and subsequent surrender of the ring forged from the Rhinemaidens’ gold by the Nibelung dwarf Alberich.
Watch a video trailer of the performance
Listen to an extract from Scene 2 of Das Rheingold
featuring Matthias Goerne (Wotan) and
Michelle DeYoung (Fricka)
21 & 23 January 2016
19 & 22 January 2017
18 & 21 January 2018
About the Artists
Amsterdam-born Jaap van Zweden has been Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra since 2012, and is also Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Conductor Emeritus of the Radio Chamber Philharmonic. Prestigious orchestras with which he has worked include the Chicago and London Symphony Orchestras, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and the New York and London Philharmonic Orchestras. He made highly acclaimed débuts with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is now regarded as one of the leading orchestras in Asia, with a history stretching back to 1895. It became fully professional in 1974. Its annual schedule focuses on the great symphonic repertoire, plus commissions of new music, pops concerts, opera (staged and in concert) and a very extensive education, outreach and community engagement programme. Since Jaap van Zweden became Music Director in 2012, the orchestra has toured in China, Taiwan and Europe, where the highlight was the filming of a sold-out concert from the Musikverein in Vienna.
Baritone Matthias Goerne has appeared on the world’s principal opera stages, including the Royal Opera House, London, Teatro Real, Madrid, Paris National Opera, Vienna State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. His carefully chosen rôles range from Wolfram, Amfortas, Kurwenal, Wotan and Orest to the title rôles in Wozzeck, Bluebeard’s Castle and Mathis der Maler. Goerne’s artistry has been documented on numerous recordings, many of which have received prestigious awards, including four GRAMMY® nominations, an ICMA award, and the Diapason d’or Arte.
Mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung appears regularly with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Vienna Philharmonic, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. A multi-GRAMMY® award-winning recording artist, she is equally at home on the opera stage, where her many rôles include Fricka, Sieglinde and Waltraute, Amneris, Eboli, and the title rôle in Samson et Dalilah.
Wagner’s Ring cycle is the most ambitious work in the history of music: four operas that combine to tell a single epic story. Based in legend, it has become a legend in its own right: a supreme challenge for conductors, singers, opera producers, and indeed for audiences. But for all its grandeur and complexity, The Ring is far more accessible than many music lovers think. This two-CD guide explains the basics of the plot, profiles the leading characters, and shows how Wagner’s revolutionary music adds fascinating layers of meaning and psychological insight, as well as providing some of the most stirring and intoxicating moments in the entire operatic repertoire.
“This double CD will make a brilliant gift for music and opera lovers.”
– Limelight Magazine ★★★★★
Step into the Ring! This iPad app is aimed at anyone with an interest in Wagner’s monumental operatic achievement Der Ring des Nibelungen (‘The Ring of the Nibelung’).
Whether you are intimately acquainted with the cycle or a newcomer to it, you can enjoy a clearly and beautifully presented outline of the work’s so-called ‘leitmotifs’. These musical calling-cards are woven in a sophisticated web throughout all four operas – Das Rheingold (‘The Rhinegold’), Die Walküre (‘The Valkyrie’), Siegfried and Götterdämmerung (‘Twilight of the Gods’): here is the chance to get to grips with them, refresh your memory, and enhance your listening experience.
“an indispensible guide to understanding the stories, music and history of Wagner’s epic four-opera cycle.” – Sinfini Music ★★★★
“Condensing opera’s biggest works into a small space, the app is a helpful way of getting to grips with the entire Ring cycle.”
– BBC Music Magazine ★★★★
“...a valuable and worthy addition to material relating to the Ring—and the leitmotifs especially” – The Wagnerian
“For a Wagner fan, this is probably the very best way to understand and absorb the ground-breaking emotional building blocks found within the Ring cycle.” – www.classicalmusicmagazine.org
Well over a century after Wagner’s death, the man and his music are as controversial as ever. Praised for his profound insights into the workings of the human heart, he has also been condemned as a dangerous libertine, a proto-fascist and an arrogant bore. His vast four-part operatic Ring cycle has been elevated as one of the greatest achievements of western culture and dismissed as an unparalleled example of creative megalomania. This audiobook makes no attempt to gloss over the darker sides of Wagner’s character, personally or artistically, but argues that the finer aspects of his vision transcend its flaws. It tells the story of an extraordinary life, and charts Wagner’s development, from unpromising beginnings, into the creator of some of the most brilliantly innovatory and seductively beautiful music ever composed.
“an excellent introduction to Richard Wagner, whose life and music still stir controversy today” – Nancy Crowder-Chaplin, Sound Commentary