ICMA Nomination 2014: Best Opera
The highly anticipated first release from the most finely crafted Ring cycle of modern times, Die Walküre features a sensational cast of Anja Kampe, Jonas Kaufmann, René Pape, Nina Stemme, Mikhail Petrenko and Ekaterina Gubanova.
Der Ring des Nibelungen was the pinnacle of Richard Wagner’s long and turbulent career and without question one of the greatest achievements in opera. Wagner wanted to create the perfect synthesis of music and drama and assumed total creative control of the project which was to take him 26 years to complete, with frequent interruptions. He introduced numerous innovations, not least the sheer scale of the project – typically a complete performance will last in excess of 15 hours, spread over four evenings. No other opera matches the scale or ambition of the Ring.
The Mariinsky Theatre has close connections with Wagner and his music. The composer conducted at the theatre and was even offered the post of Music Director. It is also believed to be the first place where any of the music from the Ring was performed. Since Valery Gergiev became Music Director of the Mariinsky, Wagner’s music has once again become a core part of the theatre’s repertoire, both in St Petersburg and on tour. The Mariinsky label’s recording of Wagner’s final opera Parsifal starring René Pape, Gary Lehmann and Violeta Urmana, was released in 2010 to international acclaim.