Let’s go see a Ring in the rain

Let’s go see a Ring in the rain


norman lebrecht

December 21, 2020

Austria’s Weinviertel Festival is planning what is claimed to be the world’s first open-air Ring cycle next summer.

The massive work will be staged in a disused open-cast mine.

First publicity pictures of the production team on the site suggest the weather may be …. variable.

Photo: Gesine Görlich-Fletzberger



  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Good for them; I wish them every success.

  • V. Lind says:

    It’s winter. I would hope it would vary from summer weather.

  • Ugh says:

    Plan away. No chance it will happen.

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    I first became acquainted with Die Walküre as a school boy in the summer of 1978, borrowing the Solti recording from the local library and listening to it in my bedroom at the back of the house. My Dad had decided to renovate the window, which he had completely removed, and the weather was typical for Britain: overcast, rainy and windy. In consequence I experienced the storminess of this wonderful opera in a stiff breeze and with the pungent smells of a wet English summer. It was a fabulous experience. I can wholeheartedly recommend an al fresco Ring Cycle!

    • V. Lind says:

      Lovely story. reminds me of telling a boyfriend the story of the Tristan legend one night in a park while the rain and wind utterly blasted around us. We sat under a tree and did not make a run for it as he was spellbound — by the tale, not the teller, I hasten to add. I never think of that legend without remembering that night. And it rather colours the music for me.

    • Maria says:

      Maybe in England. You get the usual old moan by Londoners – as I am – about it always raining in Manchester. If Austria gets rain anything like what I had when I both studied there one July to September, and then had three concerts in the Salzburg area in 2015, you won’t be doing a rain dance but experiencing similar to the famous Salzburger Schnuerlregen, so bring not just your wellies but your thermals! The hills are alive with the found of – er – flooding! La, La, La, La…

  • Dave says:

    In these trying times it pays to be inventive. I hope it works out.

  • Whimbrel says:

    A few years ago, in the summer, I went to a promenade performance of the Orpheus myth – a play with music – in a disused open-cast mine in Cornwall, and it was simply wonderful – very moving and full of haunting images. I can easily imagine such a setting working brilliantly for the Ring.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    The outdoor Peter Grimes on the Aldeburgh coast worked well

  • Martin Snell says:

    Rather over-ambitious. One can only hope that the organisers, particularly Peter Svensson, will actually pay their artists in 2021. It was a feature of this year’s effort that many celebrated artists, including René Pape, were not paid as promised. Much goodwill was sacrificed by Herr Svensson. It was also not the first time.

  • Jon says:

    From the festival’s website:
    “Wagner’s complete “Ring des Nibelungen” will be performed in the open-air for the first time.”

    This is not the case. The first open-air ring cycle was given 83 years ago, in 1938, at the “Waldoper Zoppot” (the “Forest Opera” in Zoppot, on the Baltic coast). The Waldoper festival, which existed from 1909 until 1944, was known as the “Bayreuth of the North” and attracted all the most famous conductors and singers of the day. The 1938 Ring cycle was conducted by Robert Heger, Brünnhilde was sung by Marjorie Lawrence.

    There are some extraordinary photographs from the festival here:

    If you have access to the Opera Magazine archive, you can read an 18-page article about the festival in the 1966 “Annual Festival Issue”: