Houston Matters

HGO Takes on the Challenge of Wagner’s Epic Ring Cycle

Tonight and Saturday concludes the Houston Grand Opera’s performances of Das Rheingold, the opera that’s the first of a four-part series known as The Ring Cycle. The four operas, written by Richard Wagner in the 1800s, are such elaborate, lengthy productions – all four together consist of some 16 hours of music – that only […]

Tonight and Saturday concludes the Houston Grand Opera’s performances of Das Rheingold, the opera that’s the first of a four-part series known as The Ring Cycle.

The four operas, written by Richard Wagner in the 1800s, are such elaborate, lengthy productions – all four together consist of some 16 hours of music – that only a handful of opera companies in the U.S. have tried them. And now Houston’s is among them. HGO is spreading the ring cycle out over four years, performing one each year through 2017.

The company’s artistic director, Patrick Summers, recently spoke with Houston Public Media’s St. John Flynn and said taking on The Ring Cycle is risky, but HGO was ready for the challenge.

We also hear from one of the performers that will be featured in the first two operas of The Ring Cycle, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton. She’s a rising star in the opera world after last year winning the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Barton spent several years in Houston as a part of the HGO Studio apprenticeship program. She talked with St. John Flynn about how winning the BBC competition has changed her life – and how playing the role of Fricka in Das Rheingold is something she’s been dreaming of for years.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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