A narrative told over the course of four operas, Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelungs) is one of the supreme achievements in the history of human imagination. The largest single artistic project in the history of HGO began in the 2013-14 season with Das Rheingold, and continues with one opera per season through the spring of 2017. The HGO Orchestra, under the direction of Patrick Summers, has evolved over the last fifteen years into a world-class ensemble able to take on the challenge of performing Wagner’s demanding score.
“Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is the most gigantic work of art ever created. More than just a set of four operas, it is an experience that mirrors our own relationship to the world at every level: intellectual, emotional, natural, organic, material. At whatever point you intersect with the Ring, you will find an extraordinary level of depth. Its exceptional demands are among the greatest ever created in Western art. So for HGO to deliver the Ring cycle to its public is something I’m tremendously excited about doing for the first time.”
—HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers
Composed between 1848 and 1874 and based loosely on characters from Norse sagas and the medieval epic, the Nibelungenlied, the Ring operas follow the struggles of the gods and multiple generations of humans over the eponymous magic ring, which grants the power to rule the world. The cycle begins with the creation of the world, and ends with its destruction.
HGO’s production of the Ring was originally created in 2007-2008 for the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia, Spain by the Catalan theater company La Fura dels Baus. La Fura’s futuristic production is directed by Carlus Padrissa. It combines stunning mobile 3D computer projections with groups of acrobats. The video component of the production, which evokes the science fiction films of Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott, was created by filmmaker Franc Aleu. This re-imagining of Wagner’s work tells the story with clarity for a modern audience, while emphasizing its timeless themes of destructive ambition and exploitation of the natural world. This forward-looking Ring is especially appropriate for Houston, a fast-growing, dynamic twenty-first century city.