Opera fans are in for a rare treat this month as Pacific Opera Victoria and an international team of artists presents Canada’s first “stand-alone” production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold at the Royal Theatre.
Taking to the stage Oct. 16, 18 and 24 at 8 p.m., with an Oct. 26 matinee at 2:30 p.m., the prologue to Wagner’s monumental Ring Cycle introduces audiences to a cast of giants and river nymphs, dwarves who toil beneath the earth and gods that rule from the mountaintop hall of Valhalla.
Pacific Opera Victoria has scaled Wagnerian peaks before, with two acclaimed productions of the Flying Dutchman, but Das Rheingold is a little different.
“With this production we stretch to the maximum our growing mastery of the art of the possible,” explains artistic director Timothy Vernon.
“The Ring is mature Wagner – the product of transcendent genius – the Wagner for which people rearrange their lives to travel and experience what many find to be its inexhaustible splendours.”
Dutch director Wim Trompert returns to Canada to direct his fifth POV production, having recently directed Rheingold op de Rijn (Rheingold on the Rhine), an international production of Das Rheingold, performed in and on the Rhine, using a 13-metre barge converted into a 500-seat opera house.
German designer Hans Winkler makes his POV debut as Das Rheingold set designer while Canadian Nancy Bryant returns to POV for her fourth production as costume designer.
Bringing Wagner’s “Wotan” to life will be acclaimed Canadian baritone John Fanning (POV’s The Flying Dutchman), a veteran of 10 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera. Joining Fanning will be a familiar cast of Canadian singers, plus four making their company debuts in this production.
Wagner’s Ring is monumental in scope and scale, with a North American perception that it can be performed only in the largest opera houses. In Europe, however, many small companies produce the work using orchestral reductions when their orchestra pits are too small to accommodate the large number of players called for in Wagner’s score. POV’s production, using a Wagner-approved reduction by Alfons Abbass, fits the opera into Victoria’s Royal Theatre.
A one-act opera with no intermission, Das Rheingold is performed in German with English surtitles. Tickets – begin at $25, including GST and service charges – are available from the Royal and McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121, or online at www.rmts.bc.ca For details, call 250-385-0222 or visit www.pov.bc.ca.