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Wagner Week: Do Not Grab This 'Ring' Casually

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There's nothing remotely casual about Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).

Written over 26 years, Wagner's Ring Cycle takes 16 hours to perform from start to finish. Its tale – about a gold ring nabbed from Rhine maidens by an evil dwarf named Alberich – spins through allegories about greed, power and original sin. The "hero," a human warrior who does the bidding of the gods to help return the ring, doesn't appear until part three. It's a drawn-out saga, to put it mildly.

The story has plenty to enchant not just opera lovers but video gamers and geeks immersed in Dungeons and Dragons-style role-play.

Opera fans all have their favorite Ring operas (and haters have the one they hate the least). Take our poll and tell us yours.

Programming Highlights for Wednesday, July 24

7 am Das Rheingold: Suite of orchestral music (Edo de Waart)

9 am  Die Walkure: Ride of the Valkyries (Mariss Jansons)

11 am Gotterdammerung: Siegfried's Rhine Journey (Ivan Fischer)

1 pm  Siegfried: Forest Murmurs (James Levine)

3 pm  Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, WWV 21, Op. 1 (Pier Paolo Vincenzi)

      Das Rheingold: Entry of the Gods into Valhalla (Klaus Tennstedt)

5 pm  Gotterdammerung: Siegfried's Death and Funeral Music  (Sir Adrian Boult)

7 pm  Gotterdammerung: Chorus of Vassals  (Fabio Luisi)

8 pm  The Ring and I

Operavore Highlights for Wednesday, July 24

The Ring Cycle at Bayreuth: Taken from a recently reissued recording by conductor Clemens Krauss and the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra

8 am Das Rheingold

Wotan – Hans Hotter
Donner – Hermann Uhde
Froh – Gerhard Stolz
Loge – Erich Witte
Alberich –Gustav Neidlinger
Mime – Paul Kuen
Fasolt – Ludwig Weber
Fafner – Josef Greindl
Fricka – Ira Malaniuk
Freia – Bruni Falcon
Erda – Maria von Ilosvay
Woglinde – Erika Zimmermann
Wellgunde – Hetty Plumacher
Flosshilde – Gisela Litz
 
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Clemens Krauss, conductor
Opera d’Oro – 1504

10:30 am  Die Walkure

Siegmund – Ramon Vinay
Hunding – Josef Greindl
Wotan – Hans Hotter
Sieglinde – Regina Resnik
Brunnhilde – Astrid Varnay
Fricka – Ira Malaniuk
Gerhilde – Brunnhild Friedland
Ortlinde – Bruni Falcon
Waltraute – Lise Sorrell
Schwertleite – Maria von Ilosvay
Helmwige – Liselotte Thomamuller
Siegrune – Gisela Litz
Grimgerde – Sibylla Plate
Rossweisse – Erika Schubert
 
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Clemens Krauss, conductor
Opera d’Oro – 1504

2 pm Siegfried


Siegfried – Wolfgang Windgassen
Mime – Paul Kuen
Der Wanderer – Hans Hotter
Alberich – Gustav Neidlinger
Fafner – Josef Greindl
Erda –Maria von Ilosvay
Brunnhilde – Astrid Varnay
Der Waldvogel – Rita Streich
 
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Clemens Krauss, conductor
Opera d’Oro – 1504
 
 
6 pm Gotterdamerung
 
Siegfried – Wolfgang Windgassen
Gunther – Hermann Uhde
Hagen – Josef Greindl
Alberich – Gustav Neidlingr
Brunnhilde – Astrid Varnay
Gutrune – Natalie Hinsch-Grondahl
Waltraute – Ira Malaniuk
First Norn – Maria von Ilosvay
Second Norn – Ira Malaniuk
Third Norn – Regina Resnik
Woglinde – Erika Zimmermann
Wellgunde – Hetty Plumacher
Flosshilde – Gisela Litz
 
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Clemens Krauss, conductor
Opera d’Oro – 1504