In one of its boldest undertakings yet, The London Philharmonic Orchestra announces that Vladimir Jurowski will conduct all four operas of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen over a week at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, the Orchestra’s London home. The full cycle will be performed twice from 25-31 January 2021 and 5-10 February 2021.
The star-studded concert staging’s of Wagner’s complete cycle will be conducted by Jurowski as a landmark of his final season as Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, before he becomes its Conductor Emeritus and assumes his new role as Music Director at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich in Spring 2021. The Financial Times writes “Jurowski’s Wagner is fit for the gods…Jurowski and the London Philharmonic on fine form had as much to say as many a fully-staged production.”
The casts for the two performances include many established Wagner specialists: Patricia Bardon, Ruxandra Donose, Christian Elsner, Burkhard Fritz, Torsten Kerl, Lise Lindstrom, Robert Hayward, Derek Welton, Allan Clayton, Kai Rüütel, Claire Barnett-Jones and Brindley Sherratt. A number of soloists will be making important role debuts, such as Matthew Rose as Wotan in Die Wälkure and Brindley Sherratt as Hagen in Götterdämmerung.
Vladimir Jurowski says:
“Conducting the Ring Cycle is possibly the single most challenging undertaking for any conductor, but I cannot imagine a better partner for this than the London Philharmonic Orchestra. I hope that we have already shown that experiencing these operas in imaginative concert staging’s is a hugely powerful and fulfilling way to enjoy Wagner’s magnificent scores and I hope that music lovers from around the world will join us for this momentous event.”
Timothy Walker, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of LPO says:
“Vladimir’s creative energy and artistic rigour with the LPO has been nothing less than transformational. Two complete cycles of Wagner’s massive Ring Cycle in as many weeks, considered by many to be the supreme test for a conductor, players and singers seems a fitting tribute to Vladimir in his last season as Principal Conductor, and a magnificent way for the Orchestra to acknowledge our deepest gratitude to him.”
Gillian Moore MBE, Director of Music, Southbank Centre says:
“A complete Ring Cycle is a momentous occasion, not least when it’s presented by forces as magnificent as our Resident Orchestra the London Philharmonic and Vladimir Jurowski. Their exemplary interpretations of the first two operas in the cycle, Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, promise that the full cycle here at Southbank Centre will be an unmissable event. What better way to celebrate Jurowski’s extraordinary tenure with the LPO than with this ambitious project.”
Siegfried, the third part of the Ring Cycle, will be performed in February 2020 and Götterdämmerung follows in early 2021 as the culmination of two complete four-evening cycles, scheduled over the space of two weeks. The full cycles conclude the ambitious project launched in 2018 to mark Jurowski’s 10th anniversary as the LPO’s Principal Conductor. Alongside the performances, Southbank Centre will also host a programme of events further exploring Wagner’s Ring cycle, with full details to be announced.
Speaking of the Ring Cycle, Jurowski has said, “The main point of interest is the music itself.” It is, of course, a work that offers a feast of interpretative possibilities to directors and dramaturgs. In 1976, Patrice Chéreau’s Bayreuth Centenary production, which set the action in an industrialised society, opened a new era in the staging of opera. Since then, the Ring Cycle has been reinvented so many times – and sometimes so controversially – that, as the Financial Times wrote, “A concert performance seems to be the only way of putting the spotlight back on the orchestra and singers.”