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The Ring Cycle

JUNE 2026 – JULY 2029

We’ve been trying out Wagner for some time now.  The acoustic and intimacy of the opera house have been deemed exceptional for Wagner epics.

Emboldened by the success of TristanDie Walküre and Flying Dutchman we have taken a deep collective breath and decided the time is ripe for the biggest challenge of all: his Ring Cycle.

Starting in 2026,  Charles Edwards with many of his Tristan gang will present one opera a year.

2026 Das Rheingold
2027 Die Walküre
2028 Siegfried
2029 Götterdämmerung

For Charles Edwards,  this is a project that has been gestating within him since he first engaged with Wagner’s music in 1980.  After an eclectic introduction to music drama,  via G&S,  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  ‘it was Rigoletto which drew me into opera so intensely.  Then I heard The Ring, first on record,  then as it was televised for the first time.  I became obsessed with Wagner and for 40 years,  I’ve never stopped listening to his music, thinking about the drama,  dreaming up designs,  imagining casts.  I’ve listened to every great conductor exploring the scores on LP and CD.’

The Ring deals with the most colossal of issues,  power,  love,  destruction and death,  but I don’t think of The Ring only as tragedy.  Some of it is actually comic. Wagner had a (usually ironic) sense of humour,  and his perception of humanity in all its contortions is so profound and prophetic.  He was the greatest, revolutionary theatre-maker and he loved the idea of smashing things up in order to re-make them.’ 

‘I travelled,  aged 16,  to Bayreuth.  I couldn’t see any operas that year,  but I saw models of the original designs.  Wagner imagined The Ring in 1876 in those terms,  and their beauty and mystery inspire me.  In fact the original designs for Tristan und Isolde inspired last year’s production at Grange Park Opera.’

‘Later that year I did see at least Das Rheingold.  It was my first visit to the Royal Opera House,  and I was knocked sideways!’

The Ring Cycle makes unprecedented theatrical demands.  A magic helmet makes people disappear; a man is transformed into a snake; quickly followed by a toad.  A ring of fire encircles a rock.  In the end the Rhine overflows its banks, carrying with it both gods and humans, cleansing the world.  The Ring Cycle is a cosmic undertaking, the supreme test for any opera company.  Grange Park Opera is stepping up.

Conductors for the cycle will include Anthony Negus, one of the leading Wagnerian exponents of our day.

Das Rheingold will open with David Stout as the dwarf Alberich,  stealing the gold to rule the world.  James Rutherford will portray Wotan,  ruler of the Gods,  married to the Fricka of Christine Rice.  Her sister Freia is played by Rachel Nicholls,  our Brünnhilde for the remainder of the cycle.  This outstanding UK cast is completed by Matthew Rose and David Shipley as the giants,  outsmarted by Nicky Spence as Loge,  the god of Fire.

It is a hugely exciting development.

So buckle up,  Wagnerians!

Cast & Creatives

WOTAN, ruler of the gods ∙ JAMES RUTHERFORD
FRICKA, his wife ∙ CHRISTINE RICE
FREIA, her sister ∙ RACHEL NICHOLLS
ALBERICH, lord of the Nibelungs  ∙ DAVID STOUT
FASOLT, giant, in love with Freia  ∙ MATTHEW ROSE
FAFNER, his brother ∙ DAVID SHIPLEY
LOGE, demi-god of fire ∙ NICKY SPENCE

DIRECTOR ∙CHARLES EDWARDS
SET DESIGNER ∙ CHARLES EDWARDS
COSTUME DESIGNER ∙ GABRIELLE DALTON
LIGHTING DESIGNER ∙ TIM MITCHELL

A cycle of four music dramas

Sung in German with English surtitles

Music Richard Wagner

Libretto Richard Wagner based on Norse legendary sagas and the Nibelungenlied

First performance of complete cycle 13 – 17 August 1876 Bayreuth Festspielhaus

UK première 5-9 May 1882, Her Majesty’s Theatre