Saffron Opera Group’s Ring continues on 12 February, 2017
Internationally acclaimed soloists in concert performance
Superb reviews for previous instalments
Having achieved a host of ecstatic reviews for the first two concert-performance instalments of the Ring Cycle, Saffron Opera Group (SOG) continues its triumphant journey through Wagner’s epic score with Siegfried in Saffron Hall on Sunday 12 February, 2017.
Audiences, opera lovers, and Wagner enthusiasts have been struggling to praise SOG’s previous work highly enough. ‘As for the cast, I have to reach back to memories of Karajan’s days at Vienna, with Vickers an Nilsson and Hotter, for a Die Walküre that was overall as well sung as this,’ wrote Paul Dawson-Bowling in Wagner News.
The third opera in a sequence of four, Siegfried tells the story of a naive young hero who defeats both gods and monsters to reach a beautiful sleeping warrior-maiden surrounded by fire. He breaks through the ring of flame, and the hero and maiden fall ecstatically in love.
Joining the project to take on one of the most taxing heroic roles all of opera, is the rising young British Heldentenor Jonathan Stoughton. He brings a host of glowing notices for his performances of other cruelly demanding tenor parts. ‘His Bacchus revealed a warm Italianate sound and an enormous reservoir of power’ (Warwick Thompson, Classical Source). ‘Florestan was sung with great dramatic strength and assurance,’ (Rian Evans, Opera Magazine.)
The cast comprises singers who have established major international reputations in the opera houses of the world, as well as the up-and-coming stars of tomorrow. The role of the deceitful dwarf Mime is taken by Peter Bronder, an acclaimed tenor who has gained glowing reviews for his powerful, elegant voice at the Royal Opera, La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Several other singers return to the project. Reprising her role as the warrior-maiden Brünnhilde is British soprano Elaine McKrill, who is also a casting advisor for the whole cycle. ‘McKrill’s light and even soprano hit the spot as Brünnhilde… she revealed great reserves of power which served her well in Act 3 of Die Walküre,’ (Peter Reed, Opera Magazine.) Also returning to the cycle is bass-baritone Andrew Greenan as Wotan (known as The Wanderer in this instalment.) ‘His dark tones, definitely more bass than bass-baritone, resonated through an impassioned farewell,’ (Jim Pritchard, former chair of The Wagner Society, on Seen and Heard International.) Another returnee is Nicholas Folwell in the role of the villainous dwarf Alberich: ‘Folwell’s brutish Alberich is magnificent – his curse is the best bit of sustained Wagnerian fury I’ve heard in years,’ (Richard Morrison, The Times).
Two other singers come into the project having sung with SOG previously. Stellar dramatic contralto Hilary Summers was Baba the Turk for SOG’s The Rake’s Progress, and now sings the pivotal role of the earth-goddess Erda. Rising bass Donald Thomson, who was also in the same production, takes on the role of the giant dragon Fafner.
Young soprano Agatha Pethers is The Woodbird, a helpful creature who opens Siegfried’s eyes to the dangers he faces. Agatha was BBC2 Young Chorister of the Year in 2015, and is currently Head Chorister at St Catharine’s College Chapel, Cambridge.
An orchestra of over one hundred including six harps will meet the demands of Wagner’s extraordinary score and is one of the largest ever seen in Saffron Hall. It will be conducted by Wagner specialist Michael Thorne, who also led the previous episodes of the cycle.
Saffron Opera Group was founded by opera-loving Saffron Walden residents Francis Lambert and Paul Garland in 2014, and inaugurated its work with a performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger. Its journey through The Ring Cycle concludes with Götterdämmerung in September 2017.
Tickets:- £20 – £30 from https://saffronhall.com/calendar/saffron-opera-group-siegfried/
Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre
On the door subject to availability.