Watch This Free Stream of The Ring Cycle from Richard Wagner

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 06:35 PM

Kelly Cae Hogan as Brünnhilde and Michael Weinius as Siegmund in 'Die Walkyrie' Kelly Cae Hogan as Brünnhilde and Michael Weinius as Siegmund in 'Die Walkyrie' (Clive Barda)

Got Netflix plans this weekend? Set them aside and indulge the ultimate (and original) binge watch: Der Ring des Nibelungen. The BBC has posted it for free streaming, and we have it for you right here.

Also known as the Ring Cycle, Richard Wagner’s best-known work spans four separate operas that eat up a whopping 15-plus hours of your life. But you’ll probably be so caught up in the complex story and endlessly fascinating music that you won’t even realize where your day has gone anyway.

The featured production is by Opera North, a Leeds-based opera company that came up with a genius solution to a gargantuan problem. A production of the Ring Cycle is a massive spatial and financial undertaking. Sets are generally grand spectacles. The orchestra requires nearly 100 musicians and over a dozen tuned anvils. On top of that is the cast. There are a ton of moving parts, and that requires a lot of space. A lot of space that a mid-sized company like North simply doesn’t have — they can’t even fit an orchestra that big in the pit. So instead, they moved the production to a concert hall where everyone could share the stage. And to solve the set issues, they did away with the traditional stage creations and opted for video screens that displayed scenic backdrops.

They took their production all over the UK, performing different operas from the saga in different cities. Last year, they did a run in Leeds featuring all four parts of the story. It was a smashing success. Now, the BBC has made it completely free to stream. And if you’re new to the story and intimated by the length — or if you can only handle Wagner in fixed amounts — you’re in luck: The stream is available for six months, so you can come back to it as often as you need.

Bookmark this page to get that mythical fix whenever you need — the complete Ring Cycle is available until Aug. 22. If you’re new to it all, it might not be a bad idea to check out this animated synopsis from Southbank:

And now, the main event:

Das Rheingold

Die Walkyrie

Siegfried

Götterdämmerung

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Comments [7]

Carol from nyc

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Mar. 02 2017 01:58 PM
Eric from Enterprise, Oregon

I hadn't planned on it, but ended up watching the entire production over 4 days. It's really good! I felt it was superior compared to the usual full treatment with all the usual accoutrements, scary dragon, breastplates and horned helmets, which are fun to watch but can be distractions from the music, the writing and the singers. The acting was excellent and convincing, that's what really makes this production (and the singing). Kelly Cae Hogan was fantastic as Brunhilde. Only negative, the split screen use could have been dialed back a bit, but it was still effective much of the time

The final two acts of Part 4 are missing at this site, to see the full opera use this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/GSgCg18K6WffDK6BBcg3Cj/wagners-ring-cycle-15-hours-of-epic-opera

Feb. 23 2017 06:24 PM
Brunnhilde from NYC

Love it! Thanks for getting this to us! And for a period of time!! Good singers, good orchestra, good conducting, love the tasteful "production" ..... certainly beats the Met's iron beams.

Feb. 21 2017 03:42 PM
Gregor from Massachusetts

Hopefully the rest of Götterdämmerung will get posted soon. I've made it through the first three operas and have enjoyed it immensely.

Feb. 20 2017 08:37 PM
Carol Luparella from Garfield, NJ

Thank you for making this available. I certainly will watch it!

Feb. 18 2017 07:24 PM
Digitalmah@verizon.et

You have to be kidding me! This is not WAGNER'S Ring. I might as well listen to a great CD and imagine my own staging, rather than sit through a concert version of the whole thing. Thanks for making it available anyway, but it really misses the point.

Feb. 18 2017 12:19 PM
Gev Sweeney from The Jersey Shore

I've seen some of this. It. is. a. treat. I love that it's in a stylized concert form. Every now and then I can see a horn player behind the soloists draining the instrument. You don't see little things like that when the orchestra's tucked away in a pit. Got to love the making of music. It's a fine sport as much as it is a fine art . .

Feb. 16 2017 04:33 PM

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