Christmas broadcasts in France will feature a brand-new Ring cycle

Christmas broadcasts in France will feature a brand-new Ring cycle


norman lebrecht

December 16, 2020

From the press release:

France Musique will present an exclusive broadcast  of Wagner’s Cycle The Ring between Saturday 26 December 2020 and Saturday 2 January 2021 at 8 pm. The operas will also be available on demand streaming and for free for one month on

The recordings took place late November at the Bastille Opéra and early December at the Radio France Auditorium (Siegfried) when live performances were cancelled due to the sanitary crisis. The complete musical production was maintained, against all odds, by music director Philippe Jordan who is ending a 10-year term at the Opéra.

The cast features Iain Paterson (Wotan), Ekaterina Gubanova (Frika), Stuart Skelton (Siegmund), Günther Groissböck (Hunding), Lise Davidsen (Sieglinde), Ricarda Merbeth (Brünnhilde) and Andreas Schager (Siegfried).

Marc Voinchet, Head of France Musique, says: ‘Here at France Musique, in this challenging period, we are both thrilled and proud to have the opportunity to present the first-ever broadcast of the RING on our radio station…More than ever, as a public service media, our main mission is to support musicians, keep the music playing and provide high-level live performances for our listeners.’


How enfeebled, by comparison, is the BBC.


  • Patricia says:

    I always associate Christmas with the Ring Cycle.

    • Anonymous Bosch says:

      I always associate Ricarda Merbeth with the most boring interpretations I have seen in the last two decades, especially of Strauss operas (although her Bayreuth dates have been less than stellar).

      I once sat in on a lesson with her former teacher in Wien, who half-heartedly tried to justify it as Merbeth coming from the former East Germany and not knowing even how to dress or apply (street) make-up, let alone how to create a character. She had to be taught how to present herself in pubic.

      And now she has Schager to assist in making her even more forgettable.

      As for the “sanitary crisis,” on my first visit to the Bastille in 1993 the gizmos operating the bathroom faucets were so abstruse that no one could ascertain how to activate them. The bathrooms were so poorly marked that ladies were stumbling into the Gents, having a quick look and suddenly giggling and fleeing.

      • Anonymous Frenchman says:

        Thank you for this enlightening comment that goes straight to the point. I hope your blader survived the Paris Opera experience

      • mvarc says:

        In my visits to the Bastille I have also noticed ladies going to use the men’s toilets, but it always seemed to me they were doing that because of the disproportionately few number of toilets for them. Most seemed to know exactly what they were doing: they joined the queue and waited for an empty cubicle while men (predominantly there to empty their bladders) squeezed past them to the urinals!

      • mvarc says:

        After reading your less-than-friendly thoughts, having not heard her myself, I though it only fair to listen to something Ricarda Merbeth has recorded – Vier letzte Lieder – and concluded that those negative comments should not stop me hearing her in this forthcoming Paris Ring – we can’t always have Nina Stemme! – for which I had tickets before COVID-19 changed so many things.

        Personally, I found it ironic that she comes from Chemnitz, a city and its Ring I was so looking forward to experiencing this summer. I also – (un)lucky me – lost a further three other Ring cycles this year: my personal “year of the Ring”! To which I have had to add the LPO cancellations in the new year. Of a number of operas I think I know pretty well, it is the Ring I enjoy most and the Ring quartet where I learn more each time I see/hear them.

        “Losing” these 5 cycles in this particular year has made me realise how very lucky I am to even have had the prospect of globe-trotting in search of new productions of these wonderful works and the profound joy they bring. There are so many – thousands, millions – who have had a much bleaker year.

    • Brian Brotherston says:

      I presume your comment is tongue-in-cheek !!

  • I associate the Ring Cycle with the virulent antisemitism of its composer. So I ignore it.

  • Kim says:

    Why can’t you put up the VIDEO of the production? Was it filmed?

    • Not so Hard says:

      It was not. COVID came in the middle of rehearsals for Rheingold last season. Rehearsals and performances for the other three were to have been this fall…and then full cycles. Clearly, staging rehearsals for extended periods were not possible. So, hence not VIDEO of a production that does not exist.