The Royal Opera is presenting three complete cycles, with Rheingold tonight and October 17 and 26; Die Walk‹re on October 4, 19 and 28; Siegfried on October 7, 21 and 31; and G‹tterd‹mmerung on October 9 and 24 and November 2. All tickets for the Ring reportedly sold out within hours of going on general sale.
Much of the anticipation for this Ring had to do with Bryn Terfel: the star bass-baritone, who had garnered considerable praise for his Wotan in the 2004 and 2005 Rheingold and Walk‹re, was to have made his role debut as Wotan/the Wanderer in Siegfried, and his appearance in the central male role of the complete cycle had been hotly anticipated. But he withdrew from the entire run shortly after rehearsals began last month. Taking the role of Wotan will be bass John Tomlinson, who has long experience in the role and who won a special Olivier Award earlier this year.
Among the other cast members are Lisa Gasteen as Br‹nnhilde, Rosalind Plowright as Fricka, Peter Sidhom as Alberich, Plšcido Domingo and Simon O'Neill sharing the role of Siegmund, Eva-Maria Westbroek as Sieglinde, John Treleaven as Siegfried, and Mihoko Fujimura as Waltraute.
The production, directed by Keith Warner, has been introduced one or two operas at a time over the past three years. The stagings, seen separately, have received mixed reviews; Royal Opera House music director Antonio Pappano said earlier this year that "We've had a chance to look at it again, and hopefully it's now less cluttered."
There will be a series of events, including films and lectures, accompanying the cycle. More information is available at www.royaloperahouse.org.