Opera North’s production of Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle toured sold-out concert halls across England last year to huge acclaim. The semi-staged concert performances, with the orchestra and singers on the stage in front of giant screens that integrated impressionistic video with surtitles and other narrative, were hailed as enthralling experiences and praised for both their intimacy and a matchless cast of singers and musicians that brought Wagner’s music thrillingly to life.
“It is rare to encounter such a concentrated and riveting realisation of the work as this, with the story explained simply and the words translated on a triptych of atmospherically illustrated video screens .... This is back-to-basics Wagner, and in many respects it feels like a liberation,” wrote Martin Kettle in his Guardian review.
The live performances were filmed over a week at Leeds Town Hall in May 2016, and the entire cycle is now available to view, free, on the BBC – and in part here on the Guardian.
BBC4 is showing Das Rheingold, the first opera of the cycle, on Sunday 12 February; it and the other three will be available for the next 30 days on iPlayer and on BBC Arts. Full details, plus cast and creative details and synopsis are available here.
- Who’s who in Die Walküre
- Our reviews of Opera North’s productions of Das Rheingold, Die Walküre and Siegfried and Götterdämmerung
- An animated guide to the Ring Cycle
- Matthew d’Ancona’s essay on the politics of Wagner’s Ring