Siegfried

Cast

Stefan Vinke
Siegfried

Barry Banks
Mime

Greer Grimsley
Wanderer (Wotan)

Lise Lindstrom
Brunnhilde

Zachary Nelson
Alberich

Lindsay Ammann
Erda

Amanda Sheriff
Forest Bird

Creative

Roberto Kalb
Conductor

Tomer Zvulun
Production Director

Erhard Rom
Scenic & Projection Designer

Mattie Ullrich
Costume Designer

Robert Wierzel
Lighting Designer

Ran Arthur Braun
Live Action Designer

Erin Teachman
Projection Programmer

Banner_Siegfried_2425

Siegfried
Composer & LIbrettist: Richard Wagner
Premiere Performance: Aug 16, 1876—Bayreuth Festival Theatre, Bayreuth, Germany

Weaving together the stories and characters from Das Rheingold and Die Walküre in The Atlanta Opera’s Ring Cycle, Siegfried is the epic five-hour opera that shatters the oppression of the ancients to create a vision of a magnificent future where love, courage, and wisdom triumph over the lure of unfettered power. The third opera in the four-part Das Ring des Nibelungen. 

Performed in German with English Supertitles

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Performance runtime: approximately 4 hours, 55 minutes
Act I:
80 minutes  |  Intermission: 25 minutes  |  Act II: 80 minutes  |  Intermission: 25 minutes  |  Act IV: 80 minutes

Banner_Siegfried_2425

Siegfried
Composer & LIbrettist: Richard Wagner
Premiere Performance: Aug 16, 1876—Bayreuth Festival Theatre, Bayreuth, Germany

Weaving together the stories and characters from Das Rheingold and Die Walküre in The Atlanta Opera’s Ring Cycle, Siegfried is the epic five-hour opera that shatters the oppression of the ancients to create a vision of a magnificent future where love, courage, and wisdom triumph over the lure of unfettered power. The third opera in the four-part Das Ring des Nibelungen. 

Performed in German with English Supertitles

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Performance runtime: approximately 4 hours, 55 minutes
Act I:
80 minutes
Intermission: 25 minutes
Act II: 80 minutes
Intermission: 25 minutes
Act IV: 80 minutes

Cast

Stefan Vinke
Siegfried

Barry Banks
Mime

Greer Grimsley
Wanderer (Wotan)

Lise Lindstrom
Brunnhilde

Zachary Nelson
Alberich

Lindsay Ammann
Erda

Creative

Roberto Kalb
Conductor

Tomer Zvulun
Production Director

Erhard Rom
Scenic & Projection Designer

Mattie Ullrich
Costume Designer

Robert Wierzel
Lighting Designer

Ran Arthur Braun
Live Action Designer

Erin Teachman
Projection Programmer

Synopsis

ACT I

In his cave in the forest, the dwarf Mime forges a sword for his foster son Siegfried. He hates Siegfried but hopes that the boy will kill the dragon Fafner, who guards the Nibelungs’ treasure, so that Mime can take the all-powerful ring from it. Siegfried arrives and smashes the new sword, raging at Mime’s incompetence. Having realized that he can’t be the dwarf’s son, as there is no physical resemblance between them, he demands to know who his parents were. For the first time, Mime tells Siegfried how he found his mother, Sieglinde, in the woods, who died giving birth to him. When he shows Siegfried the fragments of his father’s sword, Nothung, Siegfried orders Mime to repair it for him and rushes out.

As Mime sinks down in despair, a stranger enters. It is Wotan, lord of the gods, in human disguise as the Wanderer. He challenges the fearful Mime to a riddle competition, in which the loser forfeits his head. The Wanderer easily answers Mime’s three questions about the Nibelungs, the giants, and the gods. Mime in turn knows the answers to the traveler’s first two questions but gives up in terror when asked who will repair the sword Nothung. The Wanderer admonishes Mime for enquiring about faraway matters when he knows nothing about what closely concerns him. Then he departs, leaving the dwarf’s head to “him who knows no fear” and who will re-forge the magic blade.

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When Siegfried returns demanding his father’s sword, Mime tells him that he can’t repair it. He vainly tries to explain the concept of fear to the boy and, in order to teach him, proposes a visit to Fafner’s cave. Siegfried agrees and enthusiastically begins to forge the sword himself. While he works, Mime prepares a sleeping potion to give to Siegfried once he has killed Fafner. Flashing the finished sword, Siegfried smashes the anvil in half and runs off into the forest.

ACT II

The same night, Mime’s brother Alberich is hiding by the entrance to Fafner’s cave, obsessed with winning back the ring for himself. The Wanderer enters and tells the Nibelung to watch out for Mime. He then wakes Fafner and warns him that a young hero is on his way to kill him. Unimpressed, the dragon goes back to sleep.

As Dawn breaks, Mime and Siegfried arrive. Caught up in the peaceful beauty of the woods, Siegfried thinks about his parents. He tries to imitate the song of a bird on a reed pipe but fails and blows his horn instead. This awakens Fafner, and in the ensuing fight Siegfried kills the dragon. With his dying words, Fafner warns the boy of the destructive power of the treasure. When Siegfried accidentally touches a drop of Fafner’s blood to his lips, he suddenly understands the singing of the bird, which directs him to the gold in the cave. Alberich and Mime appear quarreling but withdraw as Siegfried returns with the ring and the Tarnhelm. The bird warns Siegfried not to trust Mime, and when the dwarf offers him the potion, Siegfried kills him. The bird then tells Siegfried of a beautiful woman named Brünnhilde, asleep on a mountain surrounded by fire. He sets out to find her.

ACT III

High on a mountain pass, the Wanderer summons Erda, goddess of the Earth, to learn the gods’ fate. She evades his questions, and he resigns himself to the impending end of the gods’ reign. His hope now rests with Brünnhilde and Siegfried. When Siegfried approaches, making fun of the god whom he takes for a simple old man, the Wanderer attempts to block his path. With a stroke of his sword, Siegfried shatters the Wanderer’s spear—the same spear that smashed Nothung to pieces years before. Defeated, the Wanderer retreats.

Siegfried reaches the mountaintop where Brünnhilde sleeps. Never having seen a woman before, he thinks he has discovered a man. When he removes Brünnhilde’s armor, he is overwhelmed by the sight of her beauty and finally realizes the meaning of fear. Mastering his emotions, he awakens her with a kiss. Hailing the daylight, Brünnhilde is overjoyed to learn that it is Siegfried who has brought her back to life. She tries to resist his declarations of passion, realizing that earthly love must end her immortal life, but finally gives in and joins Siegfried in praise of love.

courtesy Opera America

Characters & Cast

Siegfried

Stefan Vinke

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Mime

Barry Banks

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Wanderer
(Wotan)

Greer Grimsley

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Brunnehilde

Lise Lindstrom

View Website >

Alberich

Zachary Nelson

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Erda

Lindsay Ammann

View Website >

Forest Bird

Amanda Sheriff

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A First Timer’s Guide

The Opera Experience

Operas on our mainstage are grand theatrical experiences. You can always expect the unexpected, and for our productions to be presented at the highest quality.

Supertitles

Many operas are in a foreign language. Supertitles are similar to subtitles in a film, except they are projected above the stage. These translations will help you follow what’s happening on stage.

What to Wear

There is no dress code at The Opera and you will see everything from jeans to evening gowns and formal suits. Most people use it as a chance to enjoy dressing up in their own style.

Arriving in Good Time

If you are late, you will be escorted to the nearest late seating area. At intermission ushers will show you to your seat. Plan ahead to arrive with extra time.

Directions & Parking at Cobb Energy Center

Enhance Your Visit

Pre-Performance Talk

Learn about the history of the opera, the composer, and more from artists and opera aficionados. One hour prior to curtain. Free with your ticket!

Learn More

Familiarizing Yourself with the Story

Because of the foreign languages, classical music, and often complex plots, you will very likely enjoy the performance better if you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story and characters in advance. Some people even like to listen to the music in advance and others prefer to let it wash over them during the show and perhaps look it up afterwards.

Visit our Study Guides Library

How is an Opera Staged?

Auditions

Actors first audition for roles up to a year in advance, or for more experienced artists, directors also invite them to play a role.

Rehearsals

Most of the rehearsals are held in our rehearsal hall, and not the actual theatre. The conductor begins orchestra rehearsals about a week and half before opening night. They have four rehearsals with the conductor, and then the singers are added into the mix.

Sets & Costumes

The Atlanta Opera Costume Shop alters the costumes to fit our singers. Sometimes they do have to make costumes if there aren’t enough, or if there is nothing that fits, etc. Once the sets are in place, the cast begins rehearsing at the theatre. The Opera production staff works with staff at the theatre to get all of the lighting and technical aspects of the production together.

Sitzprobe & Dress Rehearsal

The orchestra comes together with the singers in a special rehearsal called sitzprobe. There are no costumes during the sitzprobe, this is mainly to hear the voices with the orchestra. There is a piano dress rehearsal, when the singers rehearse in full costume for the first time so they can get used to wearing them. Finally, all of the pieces are put together for two full dress rehearsals leading up to opening night.

Composer

Richard Wagner
(1813 – 1883)

Richard Wagner molded opera according to his own creative definition with revolutionary zeal. Consequently, his innovations in melodic structure, harmony, characterization and orchestration have inspired awe among audiences and music professionals alike for over a century. Impressionist and expressionist composers have spent most of this century struggling to overcome his influence, rebelling against him. Wagner was a man who lived in capital letters and bold print, a study in superlatives: huge creative canvases, legendary feuds and hatreds, gigantic depressions and losses, enormous successes, and passionate romantic liaisons. His music represents the dynamic and incandescent final flowering of romanticism.

Egocentric from childhood, Wagner began at age twenty to record details of his personal and creative life in a series of journals, all in anticipation of drafting an extensive autobiography in later life. He never seems to have doubted his destiny or his own titanic genius. At first, Wagner fancied himself a writer and planned a career in the literary world, drafting a ghoulish drama, Leubald  which killed off forty-two characters in the first four acts, with some returning as ghosts in the fifth.
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Attendance at performances of Weber’s Der Freischutz and Beethoven’s Fidelio  turned his attention toward a lifelong obsession with operatic composition. With his mother’s encouragement, he undertook the serious study of music, an academic process peppered with bouts of drinking, dueling, and gambling. Wagner’s father, at least in name, was Karl Friedrich Wagner, a police court clerk who died while his son was in infancy. In recent years, evidence gathered would indicate that Wagner’s biological father was actually Ludwig Geyer, a talented painter, dramatist and actor. Geyer married Wagner’s mother shortly after she was widowed.

He introduced his love of literature, art and theater into the household. Although Geyer died while Wagner was only eight years old, the stepfather’s influence had an indelible effect on the boy.

Wagner’s earliest works, two orchestral overtures, were completed in 1829 and received scornfully. A spare six months of formal music education came from Theodor Weinlig, cantor of the Thomasschule, in 1831. Those studies culminated in the composition of a Wagner symphony which was well-received in Leipzig and Prague. He began work on an opera Die Hochzeit , and tossed it aside unfinished, then completed a full operatic work Die Feen , which was destined not to be performed until five years after the composer’s death.

He undertook a series of conducting posts with small, sordid operatic companies, and there built the instinct and skills which would forge his colossal vision of musical drama. In 1836, Wagner married Minna Planer, an impulsive act he almost instantly regretted. Although mediocre, the union lasted until 1862.

Wagner struggled to establish himself in opera in Paris, living on the verge of starvation, from time to time imprisoned for his debts. Minna took in boarders. His preliminary sketches of the operas Rienzi  and Das Liebesverbot were rejected by producers despite introductory letters from Giacomo Meyerbeer. Wagner staggered briefly under the humiliation, then turned to a new concept, The Flying Dutchman, and although impoverished and unknown declared himself victorious at its completion in 1841. He was not far from wrong. La Rienzi  opened in Dresden in 1842 to enormous acclaim. A triumph followed the next year for The Flying Dutchman, in the same city.

Wagner became Kapellmeister of the Dresden opera and should have realized financial security at last. However, he continued to live far in excess of his means, accumulating impossible debts. Within the five years which followed, he had completed Tannhauser  and Lohengrin. However, Lohengrin, which he considered his greatest effort to date was rejected by Dresden opera and, in anger, Wagner turned to revolution. He wrote handbills sympathetic to Dresden rioters who were creating a growing insurrection in the state of Saxony. When the revolution failed, Wagner was forced to flee to Paris.

During the thirteen years of Wagner’s exile, Lohengrin was presented in Weimar and was received tentatively just as Tannhauser had been. However, in the decade which followed both operas were embraced by German audiences. In fact, by the time his exile ended in 1860, Wagner was one of the few Germans who had never witnessed a performance of Lohengrin.

Years of high living had nearly bankrupted Wagner when, in 1864, the newly-crowned eighteen year old King Ludwig II became the composer’s devoted benefactor. Wagner produced Tristan and Isolde, Meistersinger, Das Rhinegold, and Die Walküre, in the five years between 1865 and 1870. However, his enormous persuasive influence on King Ludwig placed Wagner at the mercy of warring political factions who demanded the composer’s allegiance. Wagner refused all of them categorically. His refusal to engage in intrigue, combined with his involvement in a scandalous affair with the married daughter of Franz Lizst, Cosima von Bulow, drove Wagner from Munich. Wagner had indulged in numerous romantic liaisons in the past. However, in this case he had fathered a child whom his betrayed friend, Cosima’s husband Hans von Bulow, graciously accepted as his own. Cosima and Wagner acknowledged von Bulow’s discretion by naming the girl Isolde.

Once more in exile, Wagner continued receiving financial support from King Ludwig at a retreat near Lucerne, Switzerland. And, when his legal wife, Minna, died in 1866, he at last married Cosima.

The final years of Wagner’s life were dedicated to completion of the gargantuan music project – The Ring – which was to combine all the noblest forms of Art in its presentation: innovative melodic structure, ambitious orchestration and instrumentation, intensely dramatic characterization and evocative sets. His concept was immense: an orchestral, vocal and theatrical portrayal of the legendary struggle between gods and men for control of the earth. This compelling mythological drama would be presented over consecutive days in a series of four sequential operas: Das Rhinegold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung.

And to that end, he also undertook the construction of his concept of the perfect operatic performance facility at Bayreuth. When the theater opened for the first full performance of The Ring cycle on August 13, 1876, the event was attended by the luminaries of the musical world including Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns, Gounod, Grieg, and Liszt. Tchaikovsky noted, “Whether Wagner is right in pursuing his idea to the limit, or whether he stepped over the boundary of aesthetic conventions which can guarantee the durability of a work of art, whether musical art will progress further on the road started by Wagner, or whether the “Ring” is to be the point from which a reaction will set in remains to be seen. But in any case what happened in Bayreth will be well remembered by our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren.” And so it has been.

Wagner died suddenly of heart disease in 1883, having been seriously debilitated by his efforts at premiering his final work, Parsifal. He was buried in the garden of his home Wahnfried, at Bayreuth to the music of “Siegfried’s Death.”

Courtesy Arizona Opera Virtual Opera House

ARCHIV - Der Komponist Richard Wagner (Archivfoto von 1877). Nach groflem Wirbel um die Besetzung der Titelpartie beginnen an diesem Mittwoch (25. Juli) die Bayreuther Festspiele mit der Oper ´Der Fliegende Holl‰nderª. dpa/lby (nur s/w,zu dpa-Themenpaket vom 23.07.2012)  +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Conductor

Roberto Kalb

Mexican-born conductor Roberto Kalb is the current music director of Detroit Opera. In the 2023-2024 season, Roberto will make multiple house debuts, including Santa Fe Opera conducting l’elisir d’amore, The Atlanta Opera Rigoletto, the Kansas City Symphony, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Alongside these debuts, Roberto will return to Detroit Opera to conduct The Cunning Little Vixen and an Arias and Overtures Gala, and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City to conduct Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci.

Highlights from the 2022-23 season included performances at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, San Diego Opera, and San Francisco Opera. In 2019, Kalb concluded his five-season tenure as resident conductor and head of music at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis with a critically acclaimed run of Rigoletto in collaboration with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, which Opera News lauded: “The orchestra sounded sublime under the baton of Roberto Kalb, whose buoyant conducting simultaneously led and followed the singers”

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Kalb has an impressive repertoire of performances with various renowned opera companies. These include the Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, Florida Grand Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Michigan Opera Theatre, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Maine, and Tulsa Opera. Additionally, he has conducted performances with the Orquesta Carlos Chavez in Mexico City and the Orquestra Sinfonica da USP in São Paulo. Kalb’s experience also extends to his previous work as a cover and assistant conductor for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, as well as performances with the National Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and Louisville Orchestra.

In 2021, Roberto was awarded a Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is married to soprano, Mane Galoyan.

Production Director

Tomer Zvulun

General and Artistic Director of The Atlanta Opera since 2013, Israeli born Tomer Zvulun is also one of opera’s most exciting stage directors, earning consistent praise for his creative vision, often described as cinematic and fresh.  His work has been presented by prestigious opera houses around the world, including The Metropolitan Opera, the opera companies of Israel, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Montreal, Wexford, Glimmerglass, Houston, Washington National Opera, Seattle, Dallas, Detroit, San Diego, Minnesota, Boston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Wolf Trap, as well as leading educational institutes and universities such as The Juilliard School, Indiana University, Boston University, and IVAI in Tel Aviv.   

Since taking the leadership in Atlanta a decade ago, he personally directed thirty of the company’s productions. He increased the operations of the company from three to six productions per season, while stabilizing the financials and in the course of his first decade tenure, secured Atlanta’s position as one of the top 10 opera companies in the US. Some of his noted achievements includes launching the successful Discoveries series, creating the first young artist program in the company’s history, tripling the company’s annual fund raising, launching the company’s first RING cycle, creating The Atlanta Opera Film Studio, and building a theatre in a circus tent where performances were conducted safely during the pandemic. 

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His work at The Atlanta Opera attracted international attention by earning numerous awards and prizes including the nomination of The Atlanta Opera for the International Opera Awards in London and the selection of his production of Silent Night as both the Irish Times and Atlanta Journal-Constitution production of the year. His focus on innovation led to an invitation to deliver a TED talk as well as a case study that is being taught at Harvard Business School. His productions travel the world and bring wide exposure to the company. Next season his productions of  Rigoletto travel to Los Angeles Opera, his La bohème returns to The Dallas Opera, and his acclaimed production of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs will make its Kennedy Center debut at the Washington National Opera.  

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