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Music Pages

Minnesota Concert Opera mounts the MINI-RING

14 August 2013, Minneapolis, US

Jane Eaglen will sing Brünnhilde in Minnesota Concert Opera’s 'MINI-RING'
Jane Eaglen will sing Brünnhilde in Minnesota Concert Opera’s 'MINI-RING'(Photo: Nicola Majocchi)

Wagner’s birth bicentenary in 2013 has prompted a proliferation of Ring cycles around the world, running the gamut from full stagings to concert performances. The UK’s recent Longborough Festival production, which squeezed the complete tetralogy into a 500-seat theatre, showed that even a slimmed-down version of Wagner’s epic score can still pack a punch. In Minnesota this month, audiences will be treated to a yet further reduced concert version of the ‘Ring in one Evening’ that promises some equally exceptional music-making.

The cast for these performances by Minnesota Concert Opera is the real draw, including soprano Jane Eaglen, one of the world’s leading exponents of the role of Brünnhilde, and Jay Hunter Morris, the tenor who was thrust into the international limelight two years ago, when he stepped in at the eleventh hour to sing Siegfried at the Met and earned a standing ovation from the audience.

MCO’s MINI-RING is the brain-child of the American tenor Dennis Petersen, who brought Eaglen as well as many of the other soloists on board. ‘Dennis called around to his colleagues and friends, starting with British soprano Jane Eaglen,’ says the company’s artistic director, Stanford Felix. ‘Jane agreed on the spot, and when Dennis spoke to others with whom Jane had performed – including Richard Paul Fink, Jay Hunter Morris, Kevin Langan, Sally Wolf, and Luretta Bybee – they all came on board as well, excited to perform with Jane and to present this work in concert format.’

The abridged version of Wagner’s score being used for MCO’s performances is David Seaman's ‘Ring in one Evening’, originally created for Nuremberg’s Pocket Opera in 1996. As conductor Jonathan Khuner explains: ‘Seaman’s idea was to tell the story straight through and to leave out the repetitive re-narrations, long philosophising and soul-searching, as well as most of the descriptive orchestral introductions and interludes. Thus this compressed version is anything but "highlights". Rather it moves swiftly through the whole narrative of the Ring in two acts, each of which is totally continuous. The result is an evening of great momentum, in a sequence of highly dramatic scenes and moments.’

MCO’s MINI-RING, presented in association with the Wagner Society of the Upper Midwest, will receive two performances on 13 and 15 September at the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, Minneapolis.


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