All right, class. Take a careful look at the costume sketch below. It’s for a major character in a standard repertory opera. (In other words, nobody is doing Natoma.) Look carefully at the sketch, and when you think you know who the character is, scroll down to find out the answer.

Think you know who this character is? All right then, scroll down the page….

keep scrolling….

scroll yet some more…

and once again…

The character depicted is . . . Erda in Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Yes, that right, the Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner. It’s a new production of the tetralogy for Washington National Opera, directed by Francesca Zambello. According to a press release from the WNO, this is to be an “American Ring,” a concept explicated by Zambello thus: “the designers and I are using American history, mythology, iconography, and landscape to set the operas. We are creating a world in some ways familiar to our audience but also one that will feel very mythic as we look to our country’s rich imagery.”

Wotan (Robert Hale) is depicted in another of designer Michael Yeargan‘s sketches in a dapper frock coat, a la Horace Tabor. And so, you are surely asking yourself, how do the Niblelungs fit into this scheme. La Cieca is glad you asked.

OH NO THEY DIDN’T! Das Rheingold opens in March, and we’ll see how this goes from there.