Goerke, Owens to star in Lyric Opera’s “Ring”; Weinberg’s “Passenger” on tap next season

Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Christine Goerke will portray Brunnhilde in the Lyric Opera's  "Ring" cycle. Photo: Christian Steiner

Christine Goerke will portray Brunnhilde in the Lyric Opera’s “Ring” cycle. Photo: Christian Steiner

The Lyric Opera of Chicago will embark on a new cycle of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in the 2016-17 season, the company announced Friday.

Lyric also announced today that it will present Mieczysław Weinberg’s The Passenger in February 2015. The Polish composer’s 1968 opera is having its U.S. premiere Saturday night at Houston Grand Opera.

For Lyric’s future Ring cycle Christine Goerke, who scored a success with her company debut in Elektra in 2012 will portray Brünnhilde.

Eric Owens, most recently seen in Handel’s Hercules at Lyric in 2011, will make his role debut as Wotan. The rest of the Ring casting will be announced at a later date.

As in previous Chicago incarnations of Wagner’s tetralogy, the Ring will be staged with one opera each season before the entire cycle is presented. Das Rheingold will open the cycle in the 2016-17 season, with Die Walküre following in 2017-18, Siegfried in 2018-19 and Götterdämmerung in 2019-20. In April of 2020, Lyric will present three complete Ring cycles.

David Pountney, who previously helmed Philip Glass’s Satyagraha and Kurt Weill’s Street Scene for Lyric will direct. The rest of the Ring production’s “dream team” as general director Anthony Freud called it, will consist of set designer Johan Engels, costumer Marie-Jeanne Lecca and lighting by Fabrice Kebour. As with the company’s last Ring cycle in 2005, music director Sir Andrew Davis will conduct.

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Weinberg’s The Passenger tells the story of a Polish survivor of a Nazi concentration camp who meets her jailer years after World War II.

Weinberg, a Polish Jew, fled Warsaw for the Soviet Union in 1939, and was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust. Weinberg was persecuted under the Soviet regime as well and many of the prolific composers’s works were banned or never performed. The Passenger had its belated world premiere in 2010 at the Bregenz Festival in the same David Pountney production that will be seen in Chicago next year.

Casting for The Passenger and the rest of Lyric Opera’s ’s 2014-15 season will be announced January 27. lyricopera.org

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