The Atlanta Opera will close its mainstage 2022-23 season with a milestone event: General and Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun’s new production of Das Rheingold, the company’s first staging of any opera from Wagner’s monumental Ring cycle.
With performances set for April 29 to May 7 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, the production sees Zvulun reunite with scenic and projections designer Erhard Rom and lighting designer Robert Wierzel. It also marks Zvulun’s 10th anniversary and 50th production with the Atlanta Opera.
Das Rheingold – the first of the four music dramas that make up Wagner’s monumental Ring cycle – is slated to be followed by the second, Die Walküre, at the Cobb Energy Centre next season. The productions will be complemented by the costumes of European Opera Prize-winner Mattie Ullrich.
“Tackling any part of Wagner’s Ring cycle for the first time is a watershed moment for any opera company. It is often compared to climbing Mount Everest. Arguably, it is the most complex epic masterpiece in all of opera and it challenges and stretches the whole organization,” Zvulun said. “This production of Das Rheingold has been in the works since my very first day at The Atlanta Opera ten years ago. It takes years to build the competencies, and, more importantly, to find the right team, that will allow us to climb this mountain. I believe that the time to launch this journey has arrived and we are going to bring something truly special to Atlanta and the world.”
Das Rheingold’s outstanding cast of American voices will be led by bass-baritone Greer Grimsley, making his company debut, as Wotan. Since first singing the role in Seattle in 2005, he has performed it to acclaim around the world, including in three complete Ring cycles in Seattle, at his Bayreuth debut in 2018 and in the reprise of Robert LePage’s landmark production at the Metropolitan Opera the following year. The Huffington Post, after raving about his “wide-ranging and handsome voice,” declared that “he sings … like a god.”
Grimsley will be joined by mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong in her role debut as Fricka, veteran Icelandic bass Kristinn Sigmundsson as Fasolt; and Zachary Nelson in his role debut as Alberich. Arthur Fagen, longtime music director of The Atlanta Opera will conduct.