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Just in: Ring cycle loses Sieglinde and Brünnhilde

May 31, 2016 by norman lebrecht

18 comments.


The hugely admired Opera North Ring has been hit by the withdrawal of Alwyn Mellor from its tour ‘for personal reasons’.

Alwyn was singing Sieglinde in Die Walküre and Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung.

She is to be replaced as Sieglinde by the Scottish soprano Lee Bisset and as Brünnhilde by the American soprano Kelly Cae Hogan.

Alwyn Mellor said in a statement: ‘It is with much sadness that personal circumstances mean that I need to withdraw from Opera North’s Ring cycles. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of the Opera North Ring: it is a hugely collaborative effort and I know it will be a huge success. The journey will end without me on this occasion but I am confident that it will be a triumph for all involved and memorable both for those who perform it and for those who experience it.’

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Comments (18)

  1. Una says:

    In Leeds we didn’t even get Alwyn Mellor for either of the two cycles. We got Katherine Broderick. Wonder if the live Radio 3 broadcast has anything to.do.with it. Now Mellor is the second singer to.pull out because of the blanket apology – ‘personal reasons’ – the other being Daniel Frank. No one in this world is indispensable. Instead we got Lars Cleveman as Siegfried in ‘Siegfried’. My goodness he was good, and he sang with one voice, not two! But seems he’s not doing the tour as site says tbc! Either way it will be good!

    1. Emil Archambault says:

      Lars Cleveman sang it at the Met; presumably he’s too expensive for the tour (or just unavailable).

      1. Una says:

        I doubt if it was purely a matter of cost just for him. He wasn’t supposed to have been singing it at all in either Leeds or anywhere else with Opera North. And regards to money, it has always been the case of ‘this is the fee we can offer, this is the money we have’. Opera North were never going to throw money at singers that they haven’t got. And they already had Matti Turi in place and others in place.

      2. Sara Hildén says:

        Lars Cleveman will be singing Siegfried the entire tour.

    2. Frederick West says:

      Indeed wasn’t it good! I misread the prog and was expecting Lars for Gotterdammerung, not dissapointed though, we ended up with the best of both worlds with Matti Turi. I was impressed by Kelly Cae Hogan, entirely convincing. The whole thing was a marvel of music-making, it’s grand up the t’north!

    3. Dame Anne Evans says:

      Before anyone else jumps to a wrong conclusion let me assure ‘Una’ that Alwyn Mellor has withdrawn from the Opera North Ring cycles for a very good personal reason, which she has chosen not to reveal publicly. That is her prerogative and I – and I’m sure her many colleagues, friends and admirers – look forward to her return to the stage before too long.

      Dame Anne Evans

      1. norman lebrecht says:

        Absolutely, Anne. We wish Alwyn all the very best.

      2. Una says:

        I wish her well as she’s a wonderful singer. Saw her in the Girl from the Golden West. We do not need to know the personal reasons, but we didn’t actually get to hear her here in Leeds as she wasn’t down to sing. But the headline made it sound to me as if Opera North were not prepared. That’s all.

  2. Una says:

    Yes, it was wonderful. Kelly Hogan sang Brunnhilde in a very lyrical way, Katherine Broderick in a very heroic way, and as I said we never got Alwyn Mellor anyhow, and Opera North are well covered by the way they have given out the parts. Susan Bickley was indisposed last week for Gotterdammerung and sung it on Sunday. But the Saturday before it was someone else already in the cast, whose name I can’t remember but was very good. A credit to them all at Opera North, and great planning.

    1. Malcolm says:

      It was Helen Shipp. The whole cycle was thrilling & I am looking forward to my second. Team Hogan/Broderick more than up to task.

      1. James Black says:

        Heather Shipp, not Helen …

  3. James Black says:

    FAO Una, this is Alwyn Mellor’s manager here, Ms Mellor was never scheduled to sing in Leeds as she had been due to be singing Senta in Der fliegende Holländer for Seattle Opera, a production from which she also had to withdraw for very serious “personal circumstances'” the detail of which it is entirely her prerogative to keep private. We look forward to announcing Ms Mellor’s return to the stage in due course but would ask for understanding at this most difficult of times for her.

    1. Una says:

      Thanks James. Lovely too to see many of your own singers in this Ring. They have all done so well.

  4. John Groves says:

    Kelly Cae Hogan is superb! You will not be disappointed!

  5. Sally Harrison says:

    Maybe it might have been been prudent of Mr Lebrecht to ask Ms Mellor’s agent for a definitive comment on this before publication? As a singer myself I can assure you, UNA, that the decision to withdraw from any forthcoming engagements would not have been made lightly. However, as well as artists, we are human beings and we have a private life offstage. It is entirely Ms Mellor’s right to keep that part of her life private from the general public, so, please don’t not make assumptions when you do not know the facts. I wish Alwyn all the very best and look forward to her return when the time is right for her.

    1. norman lebrecht says:

      We published the company statement on her withdrawal, a statement which would normally have been agreed with her agent.

      1. James Black says:

        The statement was agreed Norman Lebrecht. Nevertheless, publishing the information after the event (it was made public some weeks ago not 31 May) has led to the comments above and I’d have been happy to provide a separate current comment if asked for clarification.

    2. Una says:

      Yes, I know, Sally, that this decision would not have been made lightly, particularly if it were illness or a sudden bereavement.


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