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Put a Ring on

La Cieca (not pictured) was just leaked the information that the next planned revival of the Met’s Ring production (after next season) will be in the spring of 2017, i.e., about five years from now. That’s handy, because five years is the approximate lead time of casting big projects like these; the current crop of Wagnerians treading the Machine were selected circa 2007. A challenge for you, after the jump.

Based on your current knowledge of Wagner artists, cher public, your task is to come up with a cast and conductor for the 2017 Met Ring cycle. For any choices that might be deemed controversial or downright peculiar, La Cieca asks you to provide your rationale. YouTube clips are, as always, welcome.


  • kashania says:

    I don’t see Kaufman taking on Siegfried ever. Maaaybe Tristan but even that is a wait-and-see kind of thing. He has been very careful about his choice of heavy roles and he doesn’t need Siegfried. He can have his choice of heroic Italian and German lead roles.

  • tancredipasero says:

    All these casting speculations give a pretty interesting glimpse of the current state of Wagnerian singing and the current state of opinions about same. Congrats to the optimists -- it’s an accomplishment! But just to add an observation about one of the more serious possibilities: Kaufmann probably could, and in current contexts probably should, take on Siegfried. The limits on his success as Siegmund had mostly to do with the low tessitura; he would probably be more comfortable -- in that respect -- with the other role, and the question would just be how he feels about the stamina required. Any single page of Siegfried would surely suit him better than Siegmund. Yes, the voice is smaller than would be ideal -- but so is Morris’s, and he just had a genuine and well-merited success. One key to that success is simply that he resists any temptation to push for bigger sound than he is prepared to make in a healthy way. Simple to say but hard to do -- very few singers manage it (resisting the temptation, that is), and Kaufmann is one of those few as well. I’m not old enough to have heard Windgassen live, but my impression is that he succeeded in this role in a similar way: pingy, concentrated tone, unforced, in a “just barely big enough” voice.

    • FragendeFrau82 says:

      Thanks, tancredi, interesting info about the Siegfried tessitura.

      In the interviews I’ve read, Kaufmann has mentioned Otello and Tristan as long-term goals far more regularly than Siegfried.

      It will be interesting to see what he does. As you said he’s known to be a planner and to have strong feelings about what’s right for his voice.

    • kashania says:

      I agree with you about Kaufman and Siegfried in terms of tessitura. And I think that, should he sing the role, Kaufman would be careful to not oversing. I just don’t think he needs to take the role on. I think you’re right about Windgassen (I didn’t hear him live either) but I don’t know if Kaufman has as “pingy” or concentrated tone as Windgassen. Kaufman strikes me as a very careful fella which is why I don’t think he’ll go down that route.

  • chicagokok says:

    I see the Brunnhildes of the future being Goerke and Amber Wagner. Fingers crossed! As for Kaufman, he has already said he plans on Tristan in the future, but was not sure about Siegfried.

    • mrmyster says:

      Do you think Brunnhildes of the future include
      Elza van den Heever? I have heard some experts
      (voice teachers) who think so. Goerke strikes me
      as an Ortrud. I don’t think the has the declamatory
      top voice for high dramatic Wagner.

      • CarlottaBorromeo says:

        Without a doubt (on Van den Heever). Goerke is of course now singing Elektra (in Madrid last month)

        • mrmyster says:

          Yes, well, the traditional view of Elektra is that it is an
          “end of career role,” and I’ve seen many examples that
          seem to support that. I wish Goerke well; she is an
          interesting artist and person, but I do think of her as
          a dramatic mezzo.

          • OpinionatedNeophyte says:

            Nilsson and Anja Silja say otherwise no?

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            You mean like Nilsson taking Elektra on in 1965 and singing onstage for another 16 seasons? Or Borkh, who retired with Elektra in 1973, having sung it at least since 1953? Or Goltz who also sang the part for two decades?

            Funny how you always seem to like to stress the negative with singers whose early work you may have seen in Santa Fe. Goerke has been singing Kundry and Ortrud but is indeed scheduled for Bruennhildes in full cycles for 2015-2017.

            You have not reminded us of Pat Racette’s real age in some time!!!

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            Theorin also, one assumes, does not view her Salzburg Elektras as the beginning of the end. Herlitzius is in her prime, Baird may be past hers but has been singing Elektra for some seasons now.

            Re Goerke, I’ve heard her once, as the Foreign Princess. Struck me as a fairly unpleasant timbre, but she was certainly impressive, with a large, well managed voice and no issues with the tessitura. It might be a role that does get taken on by mezzos, but it still sounds pretty high to me (though obviously, very short).

  • zinka says:

    The way things are going:

    Brunnhilde Nino Machaidze

    Sieglinde Natalie Dessay

    Siegmund Juan Diego Flores (legs)

    Siegfried The ghost of Kurt Baum

    Wotan Justin Bieber

    Erda Fiorenza Cossotto (I NO QUIT!!!!)

    Fricka Rosalind Elias

    Rhinemaidens” Wenarto, La Cieca, Magda Olivero
    (She will then be 108)

    Directed by Lois Kirschenbaum (she will be 207)

    Conducted by Placido Domingo (with the pit lowred about 10 feet,like his singing

    Now…do not blame me……La Cieca made me do it.

    OH..I forgot..Jane Eaglen Returns as the Gibichung Hall

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    2017!!! You really think Gelb will still be at the MET by then?
    I’m waiting for the second coming of Helen Traubel and Rolando Villazon as Mime.

  • Buster says:

    Evelyn Herlitzius as Brünnhilde. Conductor: Marc Albrecht.

    • Cocky Kurwenal says:

      My first thoughts too Buster! But I doubt it would happen, surely she’d have sung at the Met by now if she was ever going to- seems she has no interest in doing so.

  • Cocky Kurwenal says:

    For Siegfried, how about Antonenko?

    I very much doubt Larsson will still be singing Fricka in 2017. She has recently done Kundry, has more Frickas on the books, has been offered the Walkure Brunnhilde, and has Amneris in preparation.

    I don’t think Stemme will last the course in such a way that she could give entirely successful performances in all 3 roles in 5 years time, but let’s hope I’m wrong. Allwyn Mellor might be fabulous, but I certainly foresee a short prime for her too if she doesn’t start taking more interest in something other than top bs and cs.

    To take another random role, how about Leyla Claire for Gutrune? She’s a very, very special voice with Jugendlichdramatische possibilities, and 5 years time might be a great point at which to dip a first toe in the waters at the Met.

  • La marquise de Merteuil says:

    Taking my inspiration from malheureuse Iphigénie -

    Rhinemaidens: Jennifer Wilson, Nadja Michael, Gwyneth Jones

    Wotan: Simon Keenlyside

    Fricka: Michael Chance

    Freya: Natalie Dessay

    Alberich: Thomas Hampson

    Erda: James Bowman

    Bruennhilde: Emma Kirkby

    Sieglinde: Dorothea Roeschmann

    Walkueres: Max Cencic, David Daniels, Michael Maniaci, Bejun Mehta, Iestyn Davies, Philippe Jarrousky, Andreas Scholl & Franco Fagioli.

    Woodbird: Irene Theorin

    Siegfried: Rolando Villzaon

    Siegmund: Florez

    Mime: Mark Padmore

    Loge: Ian Bostridge

    Hagen: Matti Salminen

    Gutrune: Gwyneth Jones

  • Given the dire situation and dearth of Wagner singers, here’s a ‘Ring’ Cast for 2017 entirely composed of singers from heavy metal bands. Hey, it might sell tickets.

    Alberich: Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)
    Wotan: James Hetfield (Metallica)
    Brunnhilde: Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish)
    Siegmund: Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)
    SIeglinde: Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation)
    Siegfried: Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche)
    Hunding: Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister (Motörhead)
    Mime: Geddy Lee (Rush)
    Hagen: Max Cavaliera (Soulfly)

  • Boris Sarastro says:

    Im hoping for Stuart Skelton as Siegfried (tho he says he is not interested)
    Eve-Marie Westbroek as Brunni
    Left field for Rosario La Spina as Siegmund or Siegfried (tenor I heard sing a big cast off the stage in Sydney, singing MacDuff!!!!)

    • Harry says:

      Boris Sarastro: ” Left field for Rosario La Spina as Siegmund or Siegfried (tenor I heard sing a big cast off the stage in Sydney, singing MacDuff!!!!)”

      You are joking surely? For a start comparing the performance endurance needed for Siegmund/Siegfried with what is a minor figure from Verdi’s Macbeth. Anyone could attempt to sing the rest of any cast off the miniscule pissy Sydney Opera House stage if they felt, so inclined. La Spina is another of those ‘methinks , me- big tenor’ guys that sings ‘at you’. A third or fourth rate crude belting show -off -- without the talent, character or style. I vividly remember seeing an atrocious Manrico (Trovatore) he did. Ever since: even if I am offered ‘freebees’ to see any opera with La Spina in the cast, I quickly but politely decline,by making up some excuse.

      • Boris Sarastro says:

        Harry, maybe you have not seen him recently then? Granted he was only singing a small role in Macbeth, but his was, without any doubt, the best voice that night on stage. Elizabeth Whitehouse (who is a rather fine Wagnerian, you admit?) was even paling in comparison with him the time I heard him. And, yes, it is a small theatre, but the sheer volume & beauty of sound was enough that he got as big a cheer as Whitehouse, for singing the small role of MacDuff, compared to her impressive Lady M…

        And, for the record, this was the first time I have heard him in the theatre, so,
        I wont comment about what else you may have heard…

        Having said all that, I did say as a left field choice, simply because he appears an Italian specialist. But, if he sings as well in what I am going to next year, I would stand by my comments. And yes, you are not the first person who has expressed reservations about him to me in the past, but I was shocked by how good he was, so maybe he has been off doing extensive retraining?

        • Harry says:

          I agree about Elizabeth Whitehouse, being a fine Wagnerian..after seeing her in Melbourne, a few years ago in The Flying Dutchman. Her Senta was beautifully executed throughout, and easily one of the finest I have ever heard.
          Regarding the ability of La Spina ‘to blow others off the stage’ in Macbeth as Macduff: the Sydney Opera House stage’s dimensions are terrible. Referred to by some, as that puny narrow width cul de sac -- I feel sorry for their patrons having to put up with its shortcomings. When Opera Australia productions ‘modeled for Sydney’ transfer to say Melbourne : the sets always appear ‘plonked’ in the very middle of the stage, or scattered like pieces of toys trying to fill up large empty spaces.
          One wonders where Opera in Australia generally -is headed, when one hears Opera Australia are workshopping an opera on Julian Assange (yes that egotistical Wikileaks creature!) and Opera Victoria is doing something similar. With one, on a quite recent local case of a woman left to die in the boot of a car -- by her husband and his lover -surrounded by aspects of web site sex partner swappings. A trendy step or two , too far?

          • Boris Sarastro says:

            Trendy step too far? Quite possibly, but then, it could end up working, who knows? All I will say is, if you employ an AD who does not like regularly performing “the standards” you are going to get crazy stuff, and then wonder why you have no money in the till. I actually was surprised and relieved when I saw next year’s season was mostly warhorses and just a couple of not so familiar (for Australia) works… It gave me hope he may have learnt how to run a large company….

  • Baritenor says:

    Simon O’Neill as Siegfried?