Opernhaus Zürich Partners With Zürich Tourism For Guided Tours

The Opernhaus Zürich (The Zurich Opera House) recently premiered “Das Rheingold,” the first work of Richard Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” as part of the first full production of the “Ring Cycle” in Zurich in 20 years. Over the next three years, the opera house will be presenting each of the four operas individually, followed by runs of the complete Cycle for eight days in spring 2024, as follows: “Das Rheingold” (now performing); “Die Walküre” (opening September 18, 2022); “Siegfried” (opening March 5, 2023); and “Götterdämmerung” (opening November 5, 2023).

The history of this classic can be traced back to the city of Zürich, where Wagner spent nine of his most productive years during his exile from Germany. During his prolonged stay, he created a substantial portion of “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” and here the world saw its first glimpses of the cycle.

Starting February 16, 1853, he presented all four pieces of work for the first time across four consecutive evenings at the Hotel Baur au Lac. Wagner quickly found success in Zürich, which launched a prolific period of creativity for the composer, including a concert series featuring excerpts from “Rienzi”, “Der fliegende Holländer”, “Tannhäuser” and “Lohengrin,” that laid the foundation for what would later become the Bayreuth Festival. This makes Opernhaus Zürich apt for presenting an authentic retelling of the works, immersed in the culture where they were conceived.

Opernhaus Zürich will be collaborating with Zürich Tourism to allow audience members to relive Wagner’s experiences in Zürich with a guided tour of the city featuring his most frequented spots.

Productions of the “Ring Cycle” are considered the most formidable undertakings for opera houses worldwide owing to the high artistic and logistical demands of Wagner’s opus. Opernhaus Zürich has assembled a talented group of cast and crew to meet the task. In their first time working together, Gianandrea Noseda and Andreas Homoki fill the roles of general music director and stage director respectively. Noseda has been general music director of the Opernhaus Zurich since the 2021/22 season. He is also music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D. C. and principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Costume design is being handled by Christian Schmidt, who is well known for his ability to bring stories to life.

Wotan’s part will be sung by seasoned Wagner performer Tomasz Konieczny, whose career has taken him around the world, including Teatro Real, Madrid, the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and the Opera national de Paris, before bringing him to Opernhaus Zürich. Other notable castings include Camilla Nylund as Brünnhilde and Klaus Florian Vogt as Siegfried, as well as Christopher Purves and Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke who play the dwarf brothers Alberich and Mime.

Opernhaus Zürich’s production is unique in that many characters who appear across multiple titles will be played by the same singers. This is a rare occurrence for productions of the “Ring Cycle” due to the frequency of scheduling conflicts during runs of the collection, which can last many years.

Per Annette Weber, opera director, “It’s wonderful that it’s worked out for us. And that’s especially the case when the four pieces are performed as a cycle. It’s so much fun to see how the characters develop.”

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