Washington National Opera to revive 'American Ring' cycle

Suspended project to be rebooted in 2016. And there's more.

WASHINGTON, January 11, 2012 — The Washington National Opera (WNO) has several upcoming initiatives contributing to a long-range plan to increase the company’s footprint in the opera firmament. Most intriguing is the company’s intention to mount, at last, its complete “American Ring” cycle in 2016. 

“I am honored to finally bring my complete vision of the Ring back to its home at WNO,” said Francesca Zambello, the director of the cycle and WNO Artistic Advisor. “This ‘American Ring’ started and evolved here in Washington, and I’m looking forward to having our D.C. audience experience it in the intimacy of the Kennedy Center Opera House as a complete work as Wagner intended.” 

WNO’s ambitious Ring project had fallen victim to the previously independent company’s budget problems a couple of seasons back. WNO was only able to mount a well-regarded concert version of the cycle’s final opera, Götterdammerung, in 2009 after having mounted original productions of the first three of Wagner’s legendary musical epic. Now, under the considerably more robust umbrella of the Kennedy Center, the company is poised to revive the effort and see it through to completion—a signal to the opera world that WNO is on the comeback trail. 

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, river view.

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, river view.

Other company initiatives also hold promise, however, including a “New American Works Project” for young American composers and librettists. “Washington National Opera is planning aggressively for our future seasons with a new confidence,” said Michael L. Mael, WNO Executive Director. “These initiatives are part of an even bolder artistic vision that builds on our successes while creating exciting performances for our audience as well as new opportunities for American artists.” 

WNO also promises to mount at least one new production each season, a welcome break from the unfortunate but necessary budget-driven recycling that has marked the last several seasons.

On other fronts, the company promises an annual Christmas event, and the mounting of other, smaller productions in the Terrace Theater commencing next season.

The company’s upcoming season announcement itself—long a January event—will now become a prominent part of the Kennedy Center’s own annual season announcement and press event, which traditionally occurs each spring.


Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of theWashington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing insights, visit his WT Communitiescolumn,The Prudent Man in Politics.

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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, movies and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was formerly the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2009) before moving online with Communities in 2010.  



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