That buzz you’re hearing from McCaw Hall is being generated by the hive of cast, crew, musicians and other craftspeople putting on the four-part production of Richard Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen.” The extravaganza opens Aug. 4 and continues Aug. 5, 7 and 9; the complete cycle repeats twice more, ending Aug. 25. A UW professor estimates that this could be pure arts gold — ticket sales, lodging and other patron expenditures, as well as jobs, will make for a local economic impact of $39 million, says William B. Beyers.
Opera fans from 22 countries are the purcharsers of those tickets, for a list of reasons: This is Seattle Opera general director Speight Jenkins’ final “Ring” cycle, as he will retire in 2014; renowned director Stephen Wadsworth is at the helm of what has become known as the “Green Ring”; conductor Asher Fisch is leading his first complete “Ring” cycle in North America; and the cast is stellar — Greer Grimsley is an imposing Wotan; Stephanie Blythe as an impassioned Fricka; new-to-Seattle Alwyn Mellor is a lively and heart-wrenching Brunnhilde, just to name a few.
Want to know more?
–Join Seattle Opera for a big “Ring” kickoff, “Make Some Noise!,” 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 3 at McCaw Hall. There will be a balloon drop, brass players, the performance troupe Lelavision, an instrument petting zoo, craft stations and musicians and singers in a performance of “Every River Has Its People,” an all-ages opera.
–A full month of events is planned surrounding the “Ring,” aimed at helping newbies and giving the more experienced opera-goer food for thought; click here for the list.
–Many “Ring” artists are on Twitter, as is Seattle Opera and mobs of opera fans. Search for #RingSEA to join the conversation.