Seattle Opera director Speight Jenkins will retire on Wagnerian note
Seattle Opera director Speight Jenkins will go out on a Wagnerian note, with new productions of "Der Ring des Nibelungen" and "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg" in his final season, 2013-14.
Seattle Times arts writer
Speight Jenkins, director of Seattle Opera since 1983, will go out on a yearlong Wagnerian note when he steps down in September 2014.
First comes a revival of the so-called "green" production of "Der Ring des Nibelungen" in August 2013 (the 200th anniversary of Wagner's birth, as well as the 50th anniversary of Seattle Opera). The "Ring" cycle is followed in August 2014 by the first Seattle Opera production of Wagner's comedy, "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg" ("The Mastersingers of Nuremburg"), since 1989.
Jonathan Dean, the opera's director of public programs and media, explains on the opera's blog that the aim of the "green" production of the "Ring," first performed in 2001, is "to put onstage what Wagner had in mind, that is, mountain and forest environments in a temperate climate." He adds: "Speight Jenkins was the one who pointed out that most contemporary 'Rings,' with their focus on politics or psychology, were ignoring the central role nature already plays in the operas."
Singers Alwyn Mellor, as Brünnhilde, and Stefan Vinke, as Siegfried, will make their Seattle Opera debuts in 2013.
Greer Grimsley makes his third appearance as Wotan, a role that won him Seattle Opera's 2005 Artist of the Year award. Another favorite, Stephanie Blythe, returns in the role of Fricka. In her review of the 2009 "Ring," former Seattle Times classical-music critic Melinda Bargreen praised Blythe's "huge, sumptuous, beautifully crafted waves of mezzo-soprano brilliance."
Margaret Jane Wray, Stuart Skelton, Dennis Peterson and Richard Paul Fink also will be returning to the McCaw Hall stage. Stephen Wadsworth directs, and Asher Fisch conducts. The cycle runs three times: Aug. 4-9, Aug. 12-17 and Aug. 20-25, 2013.
Fisch will conduct "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg," running Aug. 2-23, 2014.
Details: 206-389-7676 or www.seattleopera.org.
Michael Upchurch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information in this article, originally published June 13, 2011, was corrected June 14, 2011. A previous version of this story stated that Alwyn Mellor has sung the part of Brunnhilde at Oper Leipzig and in Paris. She has not yet appeared in those productions.
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