Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2014/15 Concert Package, SoundBite,
Birmingham International Concert Season 2014/15 and Vocal Music

Sunday 5th July

Symphony Hall

Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North
Richard Farnes conductor

Béla Perencz The Dutchman
Alwyn Mellor Senta
Mats Almgren Daland
Mati Turi Erik
Ceri Williams Mary
Mark Le Brocq Steersman

Peter Mumford concert staging & design concept
Peter Mumford lighting and projection designer
Fotini Dimou costume design

Wagner The Flying Dutchman 150’

There is no interval in this concert.

A phantom ship, a satanic curse, and a love more powerful than death itself: Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman might just be the ultimate Romantic opera.

For Wagner novices, it’s an ideal place to start; for those who’ve followed Opera North’s triumphant concert Ring Cycle, this concert staging under Richard Farnes – with visuals by Peter Mumford – is an unmissable encore.

Concert performance sung in German with English surtitles. Please note surtitles may not be visible from every seat. Please check when booking.      www.THSH.co.uk


Wagner’s Ring: Götterdämmerung

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14 Concert Package and Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14

Saturday 21st June

Symphony Hall

Alwyn Mellor Brünnhilde
Mati Turi Siegfried
Mats Almgren Hagen
Orla Boylan Gutrune
Eric Greene Gunther
Jo Pohlheim Alberich
Susan Bickley Waltraute
Katherine Broderick Woglinde
Madeleine Shaw Wellgunde
Sarah Castle Flosshilde

Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North
Richard Farnes conductor
Peter Mumford staging and design, lighting and projection design
Dame Anne Evans vocal consultant

Wagner Götterdämmerung 270’

This performance has a running time of c 6 hours including
two intervals of 30 and 75 minutes.

Act I 3.30pm – 5.45pm
Interval 75mins
Act II 7pm – 8.10pm
Interval 30 mins
Act III 8.40pm – 10pm

Opera North’s visually-stunning concert production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle has been acclaimed as one of the supreme achievements in recent British opera. ‘If the cycle continues at this level’ said The Spectator’s Michael Tanner of Das Rheingold ‘it will rank as one of the greatest ever’.

Today, in Götterdämmerung the final tragedy unfolds, as Siegfried falls amongst enemies, Brünnhilde’s love is betrayed and the gods themselves confront the end of a world.

An epically tremendous achievement
The Daily Telegraph ****

Oliver Condy, Editor of BBC Music Magazine explains why he has recommended today’s concert:

The final opera in Wagner’s magnificent Ring Cycle doesn’t go out with a whimper. As the Ring gets returned to the Rhine, Wagner conjures up, with awesome power, Valhalla’s and the gods’ fiery destruction. But not before one of Wagner’s most dramatic and overwhelming scenes – Siegfried’s death and funeral march.

Concert performance sung in German with English surtitles. Please note surtitles may not be visible from every seat. Please check when booking.

2.15pm Free pre-performance talk: Opera North’s Head of Music Martin Pickard in conversation with Stuart Leeks about the final installment of Wagner’s epic Ring cycle. The talk takes place in the auditorium and is free to all ticket-holders for the performance. Opera North’s pre-performance talks are made possible by the generous support of the Friends of Opera North.

A collaboration with Opera North, Symphony Hall, Birmingham and The Sage, Gateshead.

Financially supported by the Opera North Future Fund and The Ring Fellowship.




Review by Diane Parkes, BehindtheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “All of the cast are wonderful. Alwyn Mellor is a mighty Brunnhilde. She is gentle and endearing in love and mourning but gloriously terrifying when on the path of vengeance. You wouldn’t want to get in this Valkyrie’s way!

Also impressive is Mats Almgren as the scheming Hagen. Evil enough to sacrifice his half-brother and half-sister to his machinations, he is yet so believable they all fall for his flattery. But we also see his own vulnerability when he is forced to face his even more monstrous father Alberich (Jo Pohlheim), the Nibelung dwarf who stole the Rhinegold and then saw it stolen in his turn.

Mati Turi plays Siegfried as a bit of a simpleton. He may be a great hero of Germanic tradition but he does fall prey to Hagen’s tricks and bring about Brunnhilde’s revenge. And when the Rhinemaidens warn that the ring is cursed and beg him to return it, he simply shrugs off ‘women’s wiles’ and heads off for a drink instead. It takes death and Brunnhilde’s eulogy to reinstate him as the great hero.

And so, at the end, we also see the destruction of the Gibichung siblings Gunther (Eric Greene) and Gutrune (Orla Boylan) who gave in to the temptation offered by Hagen but could not foresee its terrible results.

As the fires burn on Siegfried’s funeral pyre and at the hall of the Gods, Valhalla, the screens are filled with red flames and the orchestra finally becomes silent.

In Birmingham the applause and standing ovations were tremendous – and richly deserved. This really has been an epic journey.”     …



Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

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…     “Everything, of course, is built upon the orchestra, teemingly textured with Leitmotiven we have learned to assimilate during the 14-plus hours of the tetralogy, and under the well-paced baton of Richard Farnes the Orchestra of Opera North provided a wonderfully warm, sonorous, detailed and subtle cushion for the uniformly brilliant soloists.

Many of the singers had come with the valuable experience of singing in Longborough Festival Opera’s Ring cycle: Alwyn Mellor the most touching Brunnhilde I have ever heard, subtle right to the end of her world-denouncing Immolation; Mati Turi a much more genial Siegfried than we usually suffer, and capable of disguising his voice in the horrid betrayal scene; and Lee Bisset was one of a trio of Norns with unexpected personality.

Of the other soloists, Eric Greene was a thoughtful, self-doubting Gunther, Orla Boylan a Gutrune much more three-dimensional than this normally wan cipher, and as their villainous half-brother Hagen Mats Almgren sang chillingly and had the look of one of the nastiest of Eastenders.  Susan Bickley’s Waltraute, so grippingly delivered,”     …








Review by Alfred Hickling, Guardian (Leeds Town Hall performance):

Click here for full review



Review by Rupert Christiansen, Telegraph (Leeds Town Hall performance):

Click here for full review



Review by Graham Rickson, TheArtsDesk (Leeds Town Hall performance):

Click here for full review



Wagner’s Ring: Die Walküre

Wagner’s Ring: Die Walküre

Birmingham International Concert Season 2011/12

Part of Symphony Hall 21st Anniversary Festival… more events…

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2011/12… more events…

Saturday 30 June

Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall logo

Opera North
Alwyn Mellor Sieglinde
Annalena Persson Brunnhilde
Erik Nelson Werner Siegmund
Béla Perencz Wotan
Katarina Karnéus Fricka
Clive Bayley Hunding
Katherine Broderick Helmwige
Meeta Raval Ortlinde
Miriam Murphy Gerhilde
Jennifer Johnston Waltraute
Madeleine Shaw Siegrune
Catherine Hopper Rossweisse
Antonia Sotgiu Grimgerde
Emma Carrington Schwertleite
Richard Farnes conductor
Dame Anne Evans artistic consultant
Peter Mumford concert staging and lighting/projection design

Erik Nelson Werner replaces Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts in the role of Siegmund.

Wagner Die Walküre  

This concert has a running time of c. 5 hours 30 minutes including two intervals:

Act 1: 66’

Interval 30’

Act 2: 94’

Interval 60’

Act 3: 73’

Opera North is joined by an outstanding international cast for the second instalment of their four-year Ring cycle. In Die Walküre the focus shifts from the politics of the gods to human passion. As the epic saga unfolds, we meet the ill-fated children of the gods, discover the magical sword that will forever shape their destiny, and encounter the fearsome Valkyries whose legendary ride has never sounded more exciting than here in its original context.

Concert performance sung in German with English surtitles. Please note surtitles may not be visible from every seat. Symphony Hall is a large hall and surtitles can be harder to read from the Grand Tier. To be sure of best visibility, book seats in centre stalls, centre circle or centre upper circle or check with box office before booking.

One of a series of Wagner’s greatest operas, performed in the space of 6 months as part of Symphony Hall’s 21st Anniversary Festival.
The Royal Opera: Die Meistersinger – Wednesday 11 January
Tristan und Isolde – Saturday 3 March
Good Friday: Gergiev conducts Parsifal – Friday 6 April




Blog post by RestrictedView, Recitative:

Click here for full review

…     “That Wotan was quite a revelation. Hungarian bass-baritone Béla Perencz had a large, resonant voice and bags of dramatic oomph to lavish on the role. His anger in Act 3 was as formidable as his farewell was touching. Katarina Karnéus started out seeming slightly underpowered as Wotan’s hectoring but entirely reasonable wife, Fricka. However, by the time of her hymn she was launching a fearless attack on him, relishing the drama of the confrontation, and thoroughly enjoying her triumph over Brünnhilde. Clive Bayley had the equal measure of Hunding’s bluster and danger, using a voice of quite astonishing size to project it to the furthest reaches of Symphony Hall (and had a door been left open probably most of the West Midlands). Siegmund was Erik Nelson Werner and it was a joy to have the lead principals completed by so strong a performance.”     …


Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “Wagner’s music was confidently handled by the Orchestra of Opera North and conducted by Richard Farnes.

And all of the singers rose to the challenge. Annalena Persson made a very human Brunnhilde, the Valkyrie who loses her divinity after understanding love for the first time and disobeying her father. We saw her defiant and then humble as she tried to appeal to the better nature of her father Wotan (Bela Perencz) but also very gentle and caring when she entered the world of mortals.”     …


Blog review by BH, Larkreviews:

Click here for full review

…     “The second instalment of Opera North’s semi-staged Ring Cycle came to Birmingham to a rapturous ovation. It was well deserved. In over half a century of Walküre performances, I can’t recall a line up of Valkyries as effective as that which hit us at the start of Act 3. Not only were the individual singers exemplary, but their combined strength, within the Symphony Hall acoustic, was thrilling in a way that is rarely true of the opera house.”     …


Reviews for performances elsewhere…

Review by Tim Ashley, Guardian (for performance at Leeds Town Hall)

Click here for full review

Review by Rupert Christiansen, Telegraph (for performance at Leeds Town Hall)

Click here for full review

Review by Ron Simpson, WhatsOnStage (for performance at Leeds Town Hall)

Click here for full review

Review by Graham Rickson, TheArtsDesk (for performance at Leeds Town Hall)

Click here for full review

Review by Sarah S Scott, ChronicleLive (for performance at Sage Gateshead)

Click here for full review