Last-minute: Washington replaces Brünnhilde

Last-minute: Washington replaces Brünnhilde


norman lebrecht

May 02, 2016

press release:

Washington National Opera (WNO) today announced that American soprano Christine Goerke will sing the role of Brünnhilde in the Monday, May 2 performance of The Valkyrie, the second opera in Wagner’s epic Ring cycle, which WNO is presenting for the first time. She is stepping in for British soprano Catherine Foster, who injured her leg during the dress rehearsal of The Valkyrie on Saturday, April 23. Ms. Foster has been advised by her medical team to allow her leg to heal for a few more days before returning to the stage. At this time, she is expected to make her American stage debut in the performance of Siegfried, the cycle’s third opera, on Wednesday, May 4.

“While we are all very sorry to have to delay the introduction of Catherine Foster—the reigning Bayreuth Brünnhilde—to our Ring audience, we are grateful that an artist of the caliber of Christine Goerke has graciously agreed to step in at the last minute,” said WNO Artistic Director and Ring director Francesca Zambello.




  • PaulD says:

    This must be Alberich’s curse at work on the WNO’s Ring Cycle. In 2009, Par Lindskog became vocally indisposed before the opening of Siegfried. Scott MacAllister was brought in to sing from side of the stage, while Lindskog mimed the part. They actually pulled it off.

  • SDG says:

    WNO is the commonly understood abbreviation for Welsh National Opera. Here in Wales, at any rate.

    • Yet another David says:

      How inconvenient for you. Going with OCC / Opera Cenedlaethol Cymru would clear up that confusion.

    • Emil Archambault says:

      Just as MSO in Montreal is taken for Montreal Symphony Orchestra (although incorrect), but means a different ensemble in Melbourne.

  • Brian from DC says:

    Ms. Goerke thrilled the audience at the Kennedy Center. Her singing and acting were memorable and she fit seamlessly into Francesca Zambello’s staging. One would have thought she was part of the production from the beginning. According to Zambello, Goerke sang a performance of Siegfried in Houston which ended at 7pm Sunday and then flew straight to DC so she would have time to prepare for Monday evening’s Valkyrie.

    Here’s hoping Catherine Foster is able to perform the rest of the Ring cycle.