Arizona Opera Presents

Das Rheingold

text and images courtesy of Arizona Opera

Arizona Opera is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its acclaimed production of Richard Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle with Das Rheingold, opening in Phoenix on April 6 at Symphony Hall. The Company is thrilled to conclude its season with this ambitious Wagner work.

An Overview

First in the sequence of the Ring CycleDas Rheingold tells an epic tale steeped in Norse mythology, so be prepared to enter the world of warring gods and monsters with this rich tapestry of legend. The story centers around the power struggle between Alberich, a greedy dwarf, and Woton, lord of the gods, over a treasure of immeasurable value.

Scored by one of opera’s most famous composers, Wagner’s operas are notable for their complex textures, rich harmonies and orchestration and the elaborate use of leitmotifs — musical phrases associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements.

The Plot Thickens

Embittered by his failed attempt to seduce the three Rhinemaidens, the sly dwarf Alberich steals the precious river gold, forging a ring of power and enslaving his fellow dwarves in the Underworld.

Meanwhile, Woton, ruler of the gods, is embroiled in a complicated battle with the giants Fasolt and Fafner who demand a rich payoff for building Valhalla, the magnificent new home of the immortals.

When Woton hears of Alberich’s ring of power, he seeks to steal it and pay his debt. But it’s at a heavy price, for the ring is fatally cursed and ruins the lives of all those who come into contact with it.

The Production

Driven by intense melodies and motifs, Das Rheingold brings the gods to life in this electrifying production. The talented Arizona Opera Orchestra will perform on stage, with stunning scenic set design and concept by Brian Staufenbiel, and dramatic video and projection designed by David Murakami.

“This is a real treat for all of us, as this is not the sort of production one would usually expect from a company of our scale, nor is this the quality of cast one would expect outside of the world’s largest opera houses,” stated John Johnson, Board Chair of Arizona Opera. “We are very grateful to the sponsors of this particular opera for making this extraordinary season finale possible.”

The Artists

For Arizona Opera’s production of Das RheingoldJoseph Rescigno serves as the Conductor and Music Director, with Brian Staufenbiel serving as Stage Director, both bringing a disciplined and dramatic approach to the stage.

Richard Paul Fink, a Wagner aficionado and Grammy-award winning baritone, returns to Arizona Opera’s stage and will perform the dramatic and disturbing role of Alberich. Mark Delavan, who critics have hailed as an “incisive vocal power and fierce theatrical acuity” and who is sought after throughout the United States and European as an artist of immense skill and strong character, performs as Wotan. A grand prize winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Rodell Rosel will play the role of Loge, bringing his excellent vocal coloration and precise acting to the stage.

The remaining cast members are Dennis Petersen who performs as Mime;  Daveda Karanas as Fricka, and Dana Beth Miller as Erda. Harold Wilson and Zachary James sing as Fasolt and Fafner, respectively; Craig Colclough performs as Donner; John Lindsey performs as Froh; and Lacy Sauter sings the role of Welgunde. Laura Wilde returns to the Arizona Opera stage as Freia, and Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio Artists Katrina Galka and Stephanie Sanchez will be singing the roles of Woglinde and Flosshilde, respectively.

 

Das Rheingold 

April 6 – 8

Arizona Opera at Symphony Hall

www.azopera.org