Nina Stemme is coming to Washington.
The Swedish soprano was the highlight of Francesca Zambello’s “Ring” cycle in San Francisco. Now, Zambello’s Washington National Opera has announced that when the “Ring” returns to DC – where three of its four operas originated – in 2016 for three complete performances, Stemme will sing Bruennhilde here the third time round.
This is good news for DC Wagnerians, not least because it will give a chance to compare: Catherine Foster, who sang the cycle in Bayreuth’s new production in 2013, will take the role for the first two iterations.
Other roles offer a similar contrast between the familiar and the unknown. Alan Held, who sang Wotan in the WNO productions of the first three “Ring” operas, will finally get to take on the whole thing. The Siegfried, by contrast, is new to American stages, though he is American himself: his name is Daniel Brenna, he is young, he has garnered positive reviews in Europe for the role, and he will appear in Washington a year after making his Metropolitan Opera debut as Alwa in Berg’s “Lulu.”
Philippe Auguin, WNO’s music director, who has already proven himself magisterial in this repertoire, will conduct.
No announcement yet on the other roles, so we can only hope for a return of the casting that was so incandescent in WNO’s concert performance of “Goetterdaemmerung” in 2009. Stay tuned.
EDITED to remove reference to mythical third “Ring” opera in which Siegfried appears — an amazing goof for someone who considers Wagner home turf. This reminds me of an April Fool’s joke years ago in Munich’s leading daily newspaper: an article claiming that a fifth “Ring” opera had been discovered. I laughed at my friends who fell for it. My error in this article was clearly karmic payback for my long-ago derision.