Are you a Ringhead? Bist du ein Ringkopf?

Are you a Ringhead? Bist du ein Ringkopf?


norman lebrecht

February 17, 2020

We’re loving the Lyric Opera’s sales spiel for its upcoming Ring cycle:

– North America’s first new Ring cycle since 2012, and Lyric’s first Ring since 2005.
– Valhalla on the Chicago River: The Lyric Opera House is the place for the world’s Ringheads to convene this spring, with ticket holders confirmed from all 50 states and 28 countries to date.
– Brilliant interpreters immersed in a massive multi-performance marathon of Olympic proportion: It takes terrific stamina and artistry, not to mention sheer vocal power and incredible acting, to make the Ring magnificent and truly memorable. Lyric’s new production stars A-list Wagnerians and operatic superstars
– Supersized orchestral forces: Wagner created specialty low-brass horns for the Ring and scored the tetralogy for 90+ instruments. Lyric’s music director Sir Andrew Davis leads the expanded Lyric Opera Orchestra, with 92 (!) singers of the Lyric Opera Chorus prepared by chorus master Michael Black for Götterdämmerung. (The regular orchestra comprises 75 instrumentalists and the regular chorus comprises 48 singers.)
– Live-performance binge-watching: Over 15 action-packed hours of opera in four performances spanning a week, as Wagner intended.
– A score of mythical proportions: The Ring cycle is said to be the longest successful musical work ever written, and is certainly the most famous.
– Play name-that-tune bingo: Wagner wrote signature melodies, a.k.a. leitmotifs, for each of his characters, and even for curses and natural disasters. Listen for these recurring musical themes throughout the Ring.
– For information about pre-performance dining options at Lyric, visit to learn about on-site restaurants, pop-up sushi bar, beverage service, and more.


  • Paul Dawson says:

    I guess I qualify as a Ringkopf. I saw the Met’s revival last year, and I have tickets for Chicago in April and Brisbane in Nov/Dec.

    The spiel strikes me as patronising. The sheer profundity of the work is ignored and replaced by hype and trivia.

  • CYM says:

    Can’t wait ; I live only 3 hours South of Chicago !

  • fflambeau says:


    I remember the Met had a Ring Cycle just last year. What does “new” mean? Seattle Opera also had a Ring Cycle as recently as 2013.

    This is not to take anything away from the Chicago Lyric Opera’s upcoming Ring. Burkhard Fritz has sung Wagner in Edinburgh, London, Hamburg, Munich, and Australia (among other places). He’s good.

    Christine Goerke also has a fine voice and will do well as Brünnhilde. She’s sung Wagner with Mehta and the LA Philarhmonic, at the BBC Proms, in Amsterdam, amongst others.

    • MWnyc says:

      “New” means a new staging, as opposed to reviving an existing staging (as the Met did last year with the Robert Lepage production).

    • Larry L. Lash / Vienna, Austria says:

      Burkhard Fritz sang Walther in Katherina Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger” in its last season at Bayreuth (missing only one of six performances), and the following year sang all performances as Parsifal in Stefan Herheim’s production, a role which he also sang at Wiener Staatsoper.

      Christine Goerke counts three complete “Ring” cycles as Brünnhilde at the Met in 2019, as well as a few isolated performances of “Die Walküre.” Her Wiener Staatsoper debut earlier this month – as Strauss’ Elektra – was universally praised.