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:

Click here for full review

…     “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: Siegfried

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2012/13… more events…

Part of Entertaining Erdington… more events…

Saturday 22nd June, 4:30pm

Symphony Hall

Opera North

Annalena Persson Brünnhilde

Mati Turi Siegfried

Richard Roberts Mime

Michael Druiett The Wanderer

Jo Pohlheim Alberich

Mats Almgren Fafner

Fflur Wyn Voice of the Forest Bird

Ceri Williams Erda

Richard Farnes conductor

Peter Mumford concert staging and lighting design

Wagner   Siegfried 255’

This concert has a running time of c.5 hours and 45 minutes including two intervals of 30 and 60 minutes.

Opera North’s production of Wagner’s Ring combines both visual impact and great singing and playing. In the words of The Times on Das Rheingold, ‘Farnes has done many fine things at Opera North, but his pacing of this 150-minute sweep of music, his care about balance… and the sumptuousness of the orchestral textures – all this constitutes a massive achievement.’ In the penultimate part of this great tragedy of love and power, the hero Siegfried awakens the warrior maiden Brünnhilde, lying in a deep sleep surrounded by a magic fire, and makes her his wife.

Beg, borrow or be like Wotan and steal a ticket… make sure you catch the rest of Opera North’s Ring as it unfolds over the next four years Richard Morrison, The Times

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

Opera North have risen to the challenge of performing Wagner’s entire Ring Cycle over four years – if the first performance is anything to go by, this third instalment looks set to be as thrilling as ever.

Click here to watch a video by Opera North around the rehearsal and performance of the previous installment of The Ring, Die Walküre.

Read an introduction to the music of Siegfried by Andrew Fairley.




“Siegfried: the vocal and mental challenges of Wotan” A chat with Michael Druiett – Click here for Youtube video



Review by Rupert Christiansen, Telegraph:

Click here for full review

…     “But it’s not an easy thing to pull off, and I am breathless with admiration for Opera North, punching above its weight in producing a concert performance which any musical organisation in the world would be proud of. The evening’s chief hero is the conductor Richard Farnes, who, like the opera’s protagonist, seems to know no fear. Motivating his excellent orchestra, he trusts the music’s flow, paces it unerringly and never forces or grandstands the climaxes. This isn’t an interpretation predicated on showcasing highlights: it simply tells the story.”     …

5 5 out of 5 stars*****



Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “When Brünnhilde awoke, Annalena Persson showed how to make a goddess, realizing she has been reduced to mere mortality, believable and touching. The lovers’ increasingly ecstatic duet was a fitting climax to a thrilling performance in which there was not a single weak link. Richard Roberts’ Mime was accurately and pointedly sung, without the customary and unnecessary cackling; Michael Druiett’s Wanderer was noble, imposing and with a nice line in irony; Jo Pohlheim’s baleful Alberich sounded formidable; Ceri Williams and Mats Almgren were convincing as Erda and Fafner while Fflur Wyn’s Woodbird was sweetly sung.

Richard Farnes conducted a performance of immense power with the often dark score irradiated by shimmering subtle details. The players, from tuba to triangle, were magnificent, the strings ardent, brass louring and woodwind full of character – and hats off to the first horn!”