"Wagner's Ring cycle has become today almost a 'statement of identity' for an opera company," said Domingo. "Not only does it mean that the company has the financial means for such a mammoth undertaking, but it is also a sign of the artistic vision of its management team. This is truer than in almost any other operatic venture, because Wagner himself laid down very specific staging details — certainly more so than any other composer who comes to mind."
The total estimated cost of the LA Opera Ring will be approximately $32 million.
Conlon, currently in his first season as music director with the LA Opera, commented, "Though Wagner has long been a staple of orchestral repertory and there have been occasional performances of Wagner operas in LA, there has never been a Wagner tradition similar to that in Europe in general and Germany specifically. I want to see LA Opera become a hub of Wagnerian activity in the coming years ... Los Angeles, as one of the cultural capitals of the world, needs to have a giant Wagnerian magnet just as do New York, London, Paris and Vienna."
Between 2001 and 2010, LA Opera will have presented all of the major Wagner operas, including (in addition to the Ring) Lohengrin in 2001, a revival of Der fliegende Holl‹nder in 2003, Parsifal in 2005, and upcoming productions (all conducted by Conlon) of Tannh‹user, Die Meistersinger von N‹rnberg and Tristan und Isolde.
Announced casting for the Los Angeles Ring includes soprano Linda Watson as Br‹nnhilde, tenor John Treleaven as Siegfried, bass Vitalij Kowaljow as Wotan, soprano Anja Kampe as Sieglinde, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung as Fricka, bass Eric Halfvarson as Fafner/Hunding/Hagen, baritone Gordon Hawkins as Alberich, tenor Graham Clark as Mime, mezzo-soprano Jill Grove as Erda, tenor Arnold Bezuyen as Loge, soprano Ellie Dehn as Freia, bass Morris D. Robinson as Fasolt and bass-baritone Alan Held as Gunther.
For now, Domingo has announced that he will sing Siegmund in Die Walk‹re himself. While he has been performing the role for some time now and knows it well, he will be 67 years old when the Los Angeles Ring cycle begins and 69 when it ends, so the possibility remains that he will retire from the stage before then.