Los Angeles Opera Receives $6 Million Gift for First-Ever Ring Cycle

Classic Arts News   Los Angeles Opera Receives $6 Million Gift for First-Ever Ring Cycle
 
It's a dream deferred no longer: Los Angeles Opera will finally get to stage Wagner's Ring cycle, a project the company has been hoping to undertake for years.

The dream has been revived thanks to a $6 million seed gift from the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Foundation. LA Opera general director Plšcido Domingo announced the grant at a press conference on Wednesday.

Eli Broad, 73, is the founder and chairman of two Fortune 500 companies, financial services firm SunAmerica and real estate developer KB Home. He and his wife Edythe now focus on philanthropy, with the revival of downtown Los Angeles and raising the city's cultural profile as particular concerns.

"Los Angeles should be viewed as one of the four great cultural capitals of the world, the others being London, New York and Paris," Broad told The Los Angeles Times in an interview. "We don't get the cultural tourism that those other cities get. But this should change that. That's part of the thinking of the foundation ... I believe the Ring is a great opportunity for Los Angeles and will make our opera company be held in even higher esteem worldwide than it already is."

Domingo told the LA Times, "It has been one of my dreams to have a Ring in Los Angeles, and they're going to make it happen ... It's a colossal work, and doing it proves the company has come of age artistically, technically and also financially."

Los Angeles Opera first announced its plans to stage a Ring cycle in 2000: Star Wars producer George Lucas's powerhouse special effects firm, Industrial Light & Magic, would collaborate with German director Peter Mussbach to create what Domingo called a "Ring cycle for the new millennium" to be staged in 2003 and 2004. But the economic downturn following the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks forced the company to shelve that plan, according to the LA Times, and Domingo's hope to stage the entire cycle in 2006 came to naught as well.

The company won't yet say exactly when its Ring production will take place or who might take the leading roles; some of those details should be announced toward the end of this month. But Domingo did indicate to The New York Times that the cycle would probably be produced over two years, with two of the four operas presented each season followed by a complete cycle; that the first of the stagings would probably not happen before the 2008-09 season, and that the presentation of the full cycle could potentially be timed to celebrate Los Angeles Opera's 25th season (2010-11).

The 65-year-old tenor did allow as how he'd like to take the role of Siegmund in the production — "if I am still singing then."


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